Hello all, I have been a member of this community and active in the UAS industry for some time. I am currently teaching a 2 credit sophomore level mechanical engineering design class at a 4 year university where the students typically make devices to compete in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student competition. This year the competition is a relay race for vehicles with different energy sources. (http://www.asme.org/events/competitions/student-design-competition)


I am teaching the same class next semester, however the class/project will have a UAS twist to it. As much  as I would like to have each student team put together a fully autonomous APM based aircraft and fly it, it is simply not practical from a cost, liability, and course load/timeline perspective at the moment.


I think it would be practical to have the students use a cheap/simple RC quad control board (aka hobbking/kk quad control board) to design and construct a quadrotor to complete some sort of indoor mission. I was wondering if this creative community could help me think of a potential competition/task that falls within the following guidelines.


1. A significant component of the competition involves designing a novel mechanism to perform a task(s) such that it can be determined to what degree one team did better than another.


2. The task is relevant to actual missions quadrotors/small UAS would perform in the real world.


3. A person with minimal RC flying skills could complete the task.


I have some ideas but at this point I don't want to taint other's input. Thanks for any ideas/thoughts. I think this will be a great opportunity for students to get some exposure to the systems engineering that surrounds UAS and get them interested in this hobby/career path.



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  • you can get some ideas from T3 challenge.

    Regarding 3rd proposal by Randy, you may use the Z accel peak to figure out how hard the landing has been

  • Developer

    some ideas might be:

    • horizontal or vertical position control.  You could film it from above or the side and measure the maximum drift from some defined point.
    • object avoidance.  You could get from one side of a room to another through an obstacle course.  simply getting there is success, maybe it could be timed.
    • precision landing.  measure how far from the landing spot the quad lands.  you could perhaps measure the speed of impact or force (if you were fancy enough to have a force plate).
    • fly around the four corners of a room - timed perhaps?

    not ground breaking ideas or anything..but do-able and relevant perhaps.

  • Edwin, thanks for the great idea! I agree, very relevant indeed.

  • Perhaps docking onto some kind of 'charging station'?  Depending on what exactly what you are trying to dock with, there are probably any number of possible mechanisms which could work well.  It would be reasonably easy to measure success: degree of alignment required for mating, reliability of an electrical connection, disconnection force versus load capacity?

    It would be very relevant to real world applications for small UAS.  In fact, docking mechanisms is on the list of things to investigate at my university, so if nothing else, I'd be interested in the results!

    The level of flying skill required would be inversely proportional to how good your mechanism was?

    Or a similar idea would be to pick up some payload, and deposit it somewhere else?


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