IMechE student drone challenge returns to Snowdonia

This year’s IMechE UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Challenge will once again be held in North Wales, as the event returns to the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre at Llanbedr.

Teams gathering at Snowdonia Aerospace Centre for UAS Challenge 2017 (Credit: IMechE)

Now in its fifth year, the student competition aims to develop young engineering talent in the rapidly evolving sector of drones and UAS. Each annual Challenge cycle kicks-off in October, ending with a final event in June the following year. This year’s final will take place from June 16-18 and will feature a record 32 teams comprising hundreds of young engineers from as far afield as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Canada, along with first-timers from Denmark and the Netherlands.

“We are delighted the Welsh Government has taken this opportunity to support the competition,” said Dr Colin Brown, IMechE chief executive. “The Challenge brings leading-edge drone technology to north Wales, which will raise the area’s aerospace profile internationally and help develop the regional skills base.”

The 2018 event saw several international teams take part alongside UK universities, with Team Hedef from Istanbul Technical University taking the overall crown. Students were tasked with designing and building a drone for a humanitarian aid mission. Southampton University’s Team Athena was named the runner-up, and third place was awarded to Team Hawk from the Huddersfield University. According to Ken Skates, the Welsh Assembly’s Minister for Economy and Transport, the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre is the ideal home for the competition.

“This is an exciting sector with a growing presence in an ever-changing world, and such high-profile events are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the world class test and evaluation facilities we have here in Wales,” said Skates.

“Snowdonia Enterprise Zone’s Llanbedr site is a prime example of that, offering the perfect environment for the further development of unmanned systems and emerging technologies, and I look forward to us welcoming university teams there from across the world in June.”