Having spent more than a year designing, fabricating and flying an unmanned aircraft, Kennesaw State University’s Aerial Robotics Competition Team glided to a top finish in a recent international event.
Competing in the SAE Aero Design East competition in Lakeland, Florida, Kennesaw State engineering students bested more than 60 teams representing schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia en route to a fourth-place finish. ARCT, composed of students from KSU’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, was the second-best American team, finishing behind Poland’s Wroclaw University of Technology and India’s Vellore Institute of Technology.
ARCT participated in the advanced class category, requiring it to fly a mother ship to an altitude above 100 feet and deploy two autonomous aircraft to land in a pre-determined drop zone. The craft was also required to deploy nerf balls and water bottles without breaking them. The advanced class category requires teams to have a systems approach to their design while integrating several engineering disciplines — aeronautical, mechanical, electrical and computer. The ultimate goal for this category is autonomous flight with a purpose, which is decided yearly by rules committee members.
All ARCT design and fabrication work, which included 3D printing, machining, wind tunnel testing and virtual flight simulations, were completed in the AERO lab on KSU’s Marietta Campus. About half of the students representing KSU at the event are enrolled in the university’s minor in aerospace engineering, designed to provide students with sufficient knowledge and skills to allow them to operate as competent practitioners within the field.