Students representing 16 colleges and universities gathered at Webster Field last week for the sixth annual Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International unmanned aerial systems competition. Joe Brannan, the competition’s director, said this year’s teams were among the best he’s seen since the event began in 2003.See SoMdNews.Com for more.
‘‘Both of the first two top finishing teams” in this year’s event, Brannan said, ‘‘were significantly better than I’ve ever seen” in past events.
NAVAIR’s Program Executive Office-Weapons and AUVSI’s local Seafarers chapter co-host the annual competition.
‘‘Northrop Grumman is our biggest supporter, with $10,000,” said Brannan, ‘‘with Boeing, Lockheed, The Patuxent Partnership and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab each contributing $5,000.” More than a dozen other defense contractors also support the annual competition financially. This year’s competing teams were awarded a total of $44,850 in prize money.
The college competitors must design and build an unmanned aerial vehicle that can be programmed to fly autonomously for a specified time over a specified area and, while airborne, locate and photograph targets on the ground below. When the aircraft lands, the digital information it captured during the flight is downloaded and analyzed.