Flight Engineers

MARIETTA, Ga. | Mar 18, 2020

KSU Aerial Robotics Competition Team soars to top 5 finish

Having spent more than a year designing, fabricating and flying an unmanned aircraft, Kennesaw State University’s Aerial Robotics Competition Team (ARCT) glided to a top finish in a recent international event.

Competing in the SAE Aero Design East competition in Lakeland, Fla., Kennesaw State engineering students bested more than 60 teams representing schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia en route to a fourth-place finish. ARCT, composed of students from KSU’s Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, was the second-best American team, finishing behind Poland’s Wroclaw University of Technology and India’s Vellore Institute of Technology.  

Aerial Robotics Competition Team

“It is hard to overstate how proud I am of our students for demonstrating their abilities against a field of worthy competitors,” said Adeel Khalid, professor of systems engineering and advisor to ARCT. “This was an excellent way for students to apply their studies on something tangible, and the work they have done to get here will undoubtedly aid them in their future pursuits both at KSU and in industry.”

ARCT participated in the advanced class category, requiring it to fly a mother ship to an altitude above 100 feet and deploy two autonomous aircraft to land in a pre-determined drop zone. The craft was also required to deploy nerf balls and water bottles without breaking them. The advanced class category requires teams to have a systems approach to their design while integrating several engineering disciplines: aeronautical, mechanical, electrical and computer. The ultimate goal for this category is autonomous flight with a purpose, which is decided yearly by rules committee members.

All ARCT design and fabrication work, which included 3D printing, machining, wind tunnel testing and virtual flight simulations, were completed in the AERO lab on KSU’s Marietta Campus. About half of the students representing KSU at the event are enrolled in the University’s minor in aerospace engineering, designed to provide students with sufficient knowledge and skills to allow them to operate as competent practitioners within the field.

– Travis Highfield

Submitted photo

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.