The "CDCL Dolphin" team was led by Derrick Yeo (Left) with team-mates Cody Karcher (not pictured) and Elena Shrestha (center). Vikram Hrishikeshavan (right) provided onsite support competition day.
A University of Maryland (UMD) student team won American Helicopter Society's (AHS) 2nd Annual Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Student Challenge. Research Associate Derrick Yeo led the UMD team—dubbed CDLC Dolphin—that included Aerospace Engineering graduate student Elena Shrestha, undergraduate Cody Karcher and Assistant Research Scientist Vikram Hrishikeshavan (Ph.D., '11), who provided onsite support the day of the competition. They were the only team that completed all tasks in the competition to an awardable level of satisfaction and the sole winner of the manually/remotely executed challenge.
The AHS MAV competition challenges students to design and build an electric-powered, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) MAV that demonstrates the best flight and autonomy capabilities while executing a hover, target search and acquisition task.
The UMD team's MAV included a host of custom features to meet the challenges of the competition. 'The Dolphin' carried a custom built airspeed probe—part of the team's efforts to develop flow-sensing capabilities for small unmanned vehicles, used a pusher propeller for improved cruise performance, onboard gyros for stability and an onboard camera that allowed the MAV to be piloted remotely.
Only five finalists competed in the Final Competition held during the AHS Annual Forum May 19-22, 2014 in Montreal. Teams were selected through a rigorous selection process that includes a paper submission, video demonstration of MAV capabilities and evaluation by a panel of judges.
AHS International—The Vertical Flight Technical Society—created the MAV Student Challenge to encourage hands-on engineering and problem solving, as well as introducing students to the development of autonomous flight control for VTOL systems. The Society seeks to develop the skills for the next generation of vertical flight engineers, scientists and leaders.