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ME teams clinch two Champions in 2016 Taiwan UAV competition

Students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have made notable achievements in the 2016 Taiwan Innovative Unmanned Aircraft Design Competition by taking home two champion prize cups (Navigated Flight Category and Creativity Category). It is also the first time university teams from Hong Kong won champions in this regional competition.

Organized by Aeronautical and Astronautical Society of the Republic of China and National Cheung Kung University (NCKU), the Taiwan Innovative UAV Design competition held on 19 and 20 March 2016 has drawn the participation of more than 100 teams from universities and institutes. It covers six categories in total: Navigated Flight, Creativity, Multi-rotors, Flapping-wing Vehicle, Flight Performance and Flight Vehicle Design. Led by Professor Wen Chih-yung, the student teams from ME Department took part in two categories in the competition: Navigated Flight Category and Creativity Category.

The navigated flight winning team “PolyU-Strike” successfully completed the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission in a wide coverage in 40 minutes and recognized all 6 targets by applying real-time imaging processing technics developed by students. High resolution frames of targets with their GPS positions were reported. The total flight range was about 20 km and it costs 18 minutes. During the presentation, the PolyU team also generated and provided high resolution 2D&3D maps for the searching area based on their flight data, which was highly praised by the judges. “PolyU-Strike” was the only team to complete all the goals set in the competition. It was also the first team to finish all tasks in Navigated Flight Category with the new challenging rules set since 2014. The champion has been vacant in the past two years.

The creativity category winner “理大背背” designed and installed an on-board system for acting as a signal relay to control and manage several UAVs in the same mission. Frequency hopping was applied to guarantee the communication security. The team used two quadcopters to demonstrate the capability of the on-board system. The son quadcopter flied to somewhere far away and lost communication with the ground station due to the limit power of communication module, then it stopped its mission to wait for reconnection and further command. At the same time, the mother quadcopter flied to the son and tried to communicate with it through radio communication system. Once the communication was re-established, the son got the return command from the ground station and flied back to the home site safely. The PolyU team successfully displayed their idea by demo flight and left deep impression to the judges. On the basis of its innovative idea and perfect fly test, the PolyU team won the champion in the Creativity Category.

Student teams from PolyU have attended Taiwan Innovation UAV competition for 4 years and received prize in each year. As a supervisor of those teams, Prof. Wen was pleased to see that students enjoyed this competition and achieved remarkable success. He also acknowledged the Department of Mechanical Engineering for its financial sponsor and Hong Kong Model Engineering Club (HKMEC) for its facility support.