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Team Aero-Watt

At Team Aero-Watt we design, test and manufacture autonomous unmanned aircraft to take part in the IMechE UAS challenge. Taking 3rd place and highest-placed new entrant in our debut year and creating the first successful vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to appear at the competition the following year, we're making a return to the IMechE's UAS Challenge 2023.

As a team of 20 engineering, robotics and computing students from Heriot-Watt University, we are striving to continue with our successes this year with an all-new design which we hope can propel us onto the podium.


Year 3 - 2022/23


We are currently developing a fixed wing autonomous aircraft for our third year competing in the IMechE UAS challenge. We aim to include new innovations such as a custom composite monocoque as well as active advanced lift generating and drag reduction devices to create a very efficient design. We hope to share more about our development shortly - stay tuned!​


Year 2 - 2021/22

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During the 2021/22 academic year, we developed our second entry into the IMechE UAS competition from the ground up, building on what had been learnt the previous year as well as implementing many new advanced features. Despite the inclusion of vertical take-off system we managed to cut the airframe weight by 35% from last year, greatly improving on our flight time and payload capacity. This UAS was our first to be capable of flying fully autonomously.


Year 1 - 2020/21


Over the 2020/21 academic year, we developed our pioneering entry into the IMechE UAS competition, with the whole team learning from scratch how to design and build an autonomous aircraft. Despite the challenges imposed due to the global pandemic we successfully built and flew our fixed wing design, which was very well received at the fly-off event.

UAS Challenge

Run by the IMechE, the UAS Challenge involves teams of students from around the world who fully design and build an unmanned aircraft weighing up to 10kg.

Each team is judged on criteria from the design, development and demonstration stages with the final event containing a 'fly-off'and business case presentations which also contribute to the team score.

Benefits for Students:

  • Practical engineering skills applicable to the aerospace industry and beyond

  • Work with mentors from leading aerospace organisations to support you on the project

  • Gain real-world engineering experience for your CV

  • Develop connections and network with like-minded students and industry representatives

Click for more info:

UAS Challenge

Student FAQs

We have compiled a list of FAQs, however, if you have further questions please email your query direct to


Get In Touch!

For more info find us on social media, fill out the form below or email us at


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