Every year, over thirty teams from around the world gather in Lexington Park, Maryland. The teams have one goal in mind: to show that the system they designed and fabricated is capable of independent navigation and capable of providing aerial intelligence. Some will not pass inspection. Some will be faulty. Some will end their mission damaged beyond repair. Only a few will complete their objectives and compete for first place. These teams are our competition.
The UC San Diego Autonomous Airplane Team designs, builds, tests and flies our own autonomous flying vehicle. We design our system from the ground up, do our own engineering, and fabricate the final product ourselves. We find our own sponsors, manage our own resources, and conduct our own public relations. Our test pilots are students or professional volunteers. Student designed. Student built. Student competition.
Our students have the opportunity to work on a large systems project involving many of the same challenges faced by professionals in industry. Developing a 10 foot wingspan airframe and autonomous system requires expertise from many engineering disciplines, including aerospace, mechanical, electrical, and computer science fields. We develop our own image processing software, target recognition, and geo-referencing algorithms in-house; design and build our composite airframe by hand, fabricate and program our own embedded and telemetry hardware, and are self-managed from fundraising to project management. Our students graduate with practical knowledge and real-world skills.
We are a large team with a complicated project. You will be responsible for yourself, but will have ample support. We succeed or fail as a team. Are you ready?