Who are we?
We are Team Aero-Watt, a down-to-earth multidisciplinary team annually building a fully autonomous plane for the IMechE UAS challenge! Teams from different universities all over the world taxi in to take part in the competition that this year took place at BMFA Buckminster over 4 days – completing missions such as way point navigation, image recognition, and more. This year, the competition was flying far above the rest, with organisers noting that teams were out flying earlier in the week than ever before!
Our team is made up of around 18 members, but are generally split into several sub-teams: Airframe and Aerodynamics (AA) – focusing on the physical plan, materials, build, and layout of the plane, and Software and Electrical Systems (SES) - focusing on the power system, autonomy, and control of the plane. However, we try to promote as much cross team collaboration and both teams are involved in big decisions! Working through year-round deliverables, ensuring the plane fits technical specifications, and physical rapid-prototyping alongside iterative assembly, we really do try to provide an industry-similar experience but with all the perks of being student led, such as regular socials!
Being only our second year competing, at the competition we obviously went for the top spot – unfortunately for us, we didn’t win. However we came 7th overall, and more impressively were the first team to successfully take off, transition, and land a fully autonomous VTOL plane in the history of the competition! On top of that, our UAS – coined AW404 – absolutely lived up to its name, going missing a few fields over and holding the flight line back an hour during it’s first flight…
However, eventually we were more successful, but the story certainly has much more turmoil than that. You might just have to speak to one of our previous team members at the Watt Welcome Fair (7th September 2022), to learn more, or follow our Instagram at @aerowatt to hear about any other events we’ll be at!