Katherine Benedict and Paige Cross
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Student engineers from more than 15 schools gathered at Cal Poly for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Professional Development Conference this past Saturday.
The two-day conference included an Old Guard Oral Presentation Competition, Old Guard Technical Poster Competition, Student Design Competition and Radio-Controlled Baja Car Competition.
Students participating in the design competition were tasked with designing and building an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) capable of navigating a course, dropping a payload and returning to the starting point. These UAV’s mimic the ones used as aids for remote forest fires so humans aren’t placed in harms way.
Here’s what you missed:
1. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) came in all shapes in sizes, ranging from repurposed balloon blimps to 3D-printed feats of engineering.
2. The arena was almost as awesome as the UAVs. Student competitors and fans gathered around a specially-designed course for the UAVs to fly through. The chain-link barrier added to the overall WWE feel of the competition, as it protected viewers from UAV mishaps. Spoiler alert: There were a few crashes.
3. Eastern Washington University’s UAV crashed, almost hitting one of the judges.
4. Many UAVs mastered the obstacle course.
5. One of the blimp-style UAVs crashed into the judges’ table, prompting laughs from the crowd and panic from the UAV’s operator.
6. California State University, Fullerton pimped out their UAV with their school’s mascot.
7. Cal Poly stole the show with their souped-up green and yellow UAV.
8. Cal Poly’s UAV breezed through the obstacle course.
The Cal Poly UAV team placed first in the Student Design Competition by a long shot. Along with second place winner San Jose State University, they will move on to the ASME’s International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) in Montreal, Canada in November.
“Cal Poly dominated the SDC with more than 600,000 points; the next closest team was from the University of the Pacific, and they scored fewer than 150,000 points,” mechanical engineering freshman Eric Dreischerf said.