Pakistan's AirWorks Beta wins IMechE drone competition

AirWorks Beta from Pakistan’s National University of Sciences and Technology has won top prize at the 2019 UAS Challenge drone competition.

imeche drone
Grand Champions 2019 - Pakistan National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Team Air Works Beta

Run by IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers), the competition challenges young engineers from across the world to design, build and fly drones for a specific project. This year’s edition saw teams dealing with a simulated a humanitarian aid mission at the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in North Wales, which has hosted the finals in recent years. The competition has grown significantly in popularity since launching in 2014, with judges proclaiming this year’s crop of entries as the best ever.

“We saw more successful flights than in the previous five years and the task we set this year was arguably the most complex,” said UAS Challenge head judge Lambert Dopping-Herpenstal.

NUST’s team AirWorks Beta, which flew the only drone helicopter in this year’s competition, beat other teams from Pakistan – including another team from their own university – Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK to be crowned champions. Teams from Queen’s University Belfast took second and third places, while Southampton’s Team Volta won the Innovation prize and Bath’s Team Drones received the Best Design Award.

“The NUST AirWorks aircraft was well designed and extremely well presented. The team was really well organised,” said Rod Williams, head scrutineer for the UAS Challenge, with technical oversight of the drones.

Full results of the UAS Challenge 2019:

Grand Champions: NUST AirWorks Beta

Runner Up: Queen’s University Belfast Hibernica Liberandum

Third Place:  Queen’s University Belfast Flytanic

Most Promise:  University of Southern Denmark SDU Eagles

Best Design (sponsored by GKN Aerospace): Bath University Team Bath Drones

Innovation (sponsored by Bombardier): Southampton Team VOLTA

Safety and Airworthiness (sponsored by Frazer Nash Consultancy): NUST AirWorks Beta

Best Business Proposition (sponsored by the Welsh Government): NUST AirWorks Alpha

Scrutineers’ Award:  NUST AirWorks Beta

Media and Engagement Award: NUST AirWorks Alpha and Beta (joint winners)