As part of a plan of action to launch a non profit club, the Amateur Autonomous Vehicles Association (AAVA), I am putting together a short (20-30 minute) lecture on what is going on in the amateur autonomous vehicles world to be given at the University of Texas at Arlington campus (UTA) next week.  AAVA will ultimately sponsor autonomous vehicle competitions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to include college students and individuals. 

UTA has an AV lab that annually funds aerial and ground based unmanned vehicles and has master degrees in AV so I offered to give this short lecture to the local interest group there. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to the largest AV community I know of to ask for suggestions on topics as well as pictures, statistics, opinions and any other information this community feels is important to give to young college students looking for something fun to do with their lives.  Any ideas would be most appreciated and I will post the final lecture in case anyone else wishes to use it in the same manner.

I wish to cover, briefly, laws as they currently stand, types of vehicles we decide to build, cost, dangers, what equipment is available, who does this kind of thing as well as any other topic you guys can come up with.

As an aside, if anyone is willing to bring their UAV, multicoptor, submarine, blimp etc to let students see and talk about it with them (show and tell!), please send me a message and I'll help that happen.


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  • I don't know if you want to cover the topic of autonomous *ground* vehicles, but if so, there's ardurover group on here primarily ardupilot-focused, and I can relate some info on the Sparkfun AVC as one of the primary rover competitions (there are others) in the US.

  • @Chad Frazer I mean Paparazzi, OpenPilot and that P4 stuff. And probably more I don't even know about.

  • Will do serge, tilman can you give me an example of what you mean?
  • I would second Mark's suggestion about blade safety and drone safety in general. Get them to establish some clear safety protocols for fixed wing and multi-rotor craft by introducing them to the policies of the AMA, RCAPA, etc. Do show the blade hits to drive the point home.

    Ultimately I think individuals in this group are going to be interested in the idea as a whole, but there's probably a single aspect of this that's really going to hook them (be it programming, construction, AI, power sources and electrics, sensors and payloads, aerodynamics, servos and motors, what have you). When I launch these drone programs at high school science clubs, the students usually gravitate to problem-solving groups as per their interests. So I'd focus on the breadth of technologies home-built drones brings to the table as opposed to focusing on a single thing.

    But I would suggest introducing them to aerial photography and FPV, because that might attract a group of people that might otherwise not have been interested. Especially photomapping. Photomapping was the thing that really hooked me into this not only as a hobby, but potentially as a vocation.

  • Perhaps some mentioning that other UAV projects are out there.

  • You could maybe tell something about the challenges that amatures take on; the applications beyond flying fun :) it could be inspiring to touch upon the opportunities that lie at the border between amatures and small businesses. Cheers!
  • Moderator

    ASTM F-38 will be for all UA sadly so that has the potential for big probs. It will be difficult to enforce of course though.

  • TYVM Mark and Gary!  The one thing I really love about this place is that we all help each other, that's a rare bird in some places I've been to.

  • Never saw RCAPA, so I can't speak to that.  ASTM F38 is for professional use, no?

  • Moderator

    Here's the slides I made for a presentation last year.  The focus was on people making things out of microcontrollers.  The person on the front is Chris Anderson.  There's a great cautionary slide at the end (lesson: disable your props!)  Feel free to use any of it (attribution appreciated!) that's useful.


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