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, then winning the media and engagement award in 2023, we're making a return to the IMechE's UAS Challenge 2024.
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 4 - 2023/24
At present, we are in the recruitment phase for our team, diligently preparing for the development of our upcoming entry into the IMechEs UAS challenge. Stay tuned for more updates on our progress and the innovative strides we aim to make in the field of unmanned aerial systems.
Year 3 - 2022/23
During the 2022/2023 academic year, our team developed a 3-meter fixed-wing aircraft, achieving a rapid takeoff within 10 meters due to a thrust-to-weight ratio of 1.4. Incorporating high lift devices like flaps and slats enhanced this capability. Despite minor software glitches, we excelled, ranking third in the UK and fifth globally. Our achievements were recognized with the prestigious media award.
Year 2 - 2021/22
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.
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
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