CNU provides many opportunities for PCSE students to get involved in hands-on activities in their field. One such opportunity is Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), which is led by sophomore Nigel Armstrong.
UAS is a team of students that design, build, and program unmanned aircrafts to compete in the annual SUAS competition. Usually the team consists of about ten people, including freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors majoring in computer science and computer engineering.
This is their second year participating in the competition. Last year, there were 49 teams competing and 29 were selected. The goal is to create an aircraft that will take part in a multi-step mission. The design aspect involves a technical paper written about the design of the aircraft and an evaluation of how safe it is. At the competition there are two primary tasks – which must be completed – and a number of secondary tasks – which are optional. The main purpose is to test autonomous flight. The team is given search area tasks in which they must locate targets and report on identifying characteristics of those targets.
This year, the UAS team has been working on building off of last year’s design. Nigel feels that they are more experienced, having participated in the competition last year, and have a better idea of the aircraft’s strengths and weaknesses. He says that they are going to focus on choosing tasks that they are capable of performing and do them really well.
I asked Nigel how their prospects looked for this year’s competition, and he says this year looks to be tougher. But the team will build their aircraft to be more specialized on specific tasks instead of trying to perform as many as possible.
For anyone interested in joining UAS, or just learning more about it, contact Nigel (firstname.lastname@example.org), Clare Maliniak in the PCSE office, or Dr. Riedl. All kinds of majors are welcome including computer science with a variety of programming languages, computer engineering for hardware and software, math, physics, and even technical writing.