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Clark School student teams took first and second place in the 8th Annual Micro Air Vehicle Student Challenge, sponsored by the Vertical Flight Society. The teams repeated their 2019 successes, when they placed at the top of the competition in Philadelphia.

This electric-powered, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) micro air vehicle (MAV) competition encourages student interest in autonomous/unmanned aircraft technology as well as small air vehicle design and fabrication. The 2020 challenge was for the MAV to pick up, transport and drop off sandbag payloads for an imagined flooding event.

Normally, the competition takes place at the Vertical Flight Society’s Annual Forum in May. However, because of the pandemic, this year’s student contest was conducted remotely via videos sent in by the teams.

The first-place winning team, “Autonomous Sand Emergency Transport,” was advised by Distinguished University Professor Inderjit Chopra (AE), the director of the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.

Members of this team, who are all affiliated with the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, include:

PhD student Abhishek Shastry (AE).

MS students Nicholas Rehm (Team Leader, AE) and Ilya Semenov (AE).

Undergraduate students Peter Ryseck (AE), Derek Safieh (AE) and Robbie Nawrocki (AE).

In second place was the “Autonomous Micro Air Vehicle” team, advised by Professor Derek Paley (AE/ISR), the director of the Maryland Robotics Center; and Postdoctoral Researcher Artur Wolek (AE/ISR).

Members of this team include:

PhD students Animesh Shastry (AE) and Curtis Merrill (AE).

MEng in Robotics students Abhinav Modi, Achal Vyas, Arun Kumar Dhandayuthabani, Govind Kumar, Ishan Patel, Kapil Rawal, Nakul Patel, Pradeep Gopal, Sri Manika Makam, and Vishnuu Appaya Dhanabalan.

Undergraduate students Brian McCullough (EE), Chris Martinez Reina (ME), Ian Moss (AE), Matthew Thomas (AE), Paul Zaidins (CS), Qingwen Wei (AE), Thomas Brosh (AE), Will Sherman (AE), and Zachary Lacey (AE).

View the videos from the two winning teams:

Autonomous Sand Emergency Transport Team



Autonomous Micro Air Vehicle Team



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