Bristol and Airbus combine for drone challenge

Students at Bristol University have taken part in a two-day event supported by Airbus that saw teams building and flying their own drones from scratch.

Drone Dash 1 was sponsored by the Airbus Global University Partnership Programme, and saw the company working alongside Bristol’s Drone Society and AeroSoc. Multidisciplinary teams had to construct drones from a bag of parts, then complete flying challenges that included controlled take-off, landing and aerial manoeuvres.

A total of five teams competed in the event, involving students who are studying mechanical, aeronautical, and electronic engineering, as well as engineering maths and computer sciences. The winning team was composed of students who are all studying different degrees.

“It was amazing to see these students design and build drones with no real step-by-step instructions,” said Prof Ian Lane, Airbus senior composites expert.

“They had to work it out themselves, each person bringing their skills to the table. There were a few times when things were really difficult and none of the teams gave up. It was like the spirit of early aviation innovation was alive in the room.”

Dr Steve Bullock, teaching fellow at Bristol’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, added: “It was a brilliant event and the students who competed stepped up to the challenge. Airbus is a close partner of the university and we would like to thank them for sponsoring the event.”