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Oct 12, 2014

Hardware is Hard – Hardware That Flies is Impossible – 7 Lessons from the UAV Outback Challenge Winners

After spending last week observing and supporting Team Condor (Colombia)  in the UAV Outback Challenge in Queensland Australia, it was clear to me that there was some common themes that emerged from the four successful teams.

As regular readers will recall, I spent the first 9 years of my working life working on Helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy on an operational squadron, so I know a fair bit about operating aircraft in the real world (admittedly a long time ago).

I met most of the teams over dinner before the Challenges and sat down with the successful teams and picked their brains after winning. Observing the less successful teams also gave me a view about [...]

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Sep 25, 2014

UAV Challenge Mission Complete Team SWFA Drops Water to Outback Joe

Moments after I pressed the publish key on the last post Outback Joe is in Deep Shit, word came through that these two young brothers Ben & Daniel Dyer have managed to get their aircraft into the search zone, find Outback Joe and successfully drop him a 500ml bottle of water within 25m.

This is the first time this mission has been successfully accomplished in the history of the competition.

The brothers from Melbourne put their success down to lack of bad luck and simplicity of design both in the airframe and the release mechanism.

But not the software and flight control boards, turns out Daniel is an embedded systems engineer and Ben runs an enterprise Email [...]

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Sep 23, 2014

UAV Outback Challenge – Photos – High School Students Airborne Delivery Competition

We watched the School Students prepare and compete today, pretty sure I got photos of all of them, sorry if I missed anyone.

Special mentions go to the Jaimyn Mayer from Brisbane. I really felt for him, his UAV appeared to lose radio communication during the scrutineering flight and then his aircraft terminated its flight like they are supposed to.

Unfortunately his aircraft was a complete write off but I feel he deserves special mention. All of the other teams had teachers and schools who launched a challenge, this young guy saved up the money himself and ran the challenge all on his own which is an amazing feat.

Also well done to the team from the US who [...]

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Sep 21, 2014

UAV Outback Challenge – This week is UAV Week

This week Im off to the temporary UAV Capital of the world Kingaroy in Queensland Australia.

In a moment of craziness on Friday I agreed to drive Team Condor from Sydney to Kingaroy in QLD so they could get to the start line on Monday. Team Condor is made up of a group of Colombian (and I think one Brazilian) University Students, one of whom works on one of my hardware projects.

Team Condor

I will be live blogging and tweeting so follow me on Twitter @mikenicholls88

If you have never heard of the Outback Challenge, essentially it is one of the top UAV contests in the world with $50,000 prize money on offer to the winning teams. More [...]

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