NUST Students Shine in International Drone Competition


Drones, once restricted to the battlefield, are now being utilized for commercial and humanitarian purposes.

Keeping this in view, an international completion, titled Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Challenge 2021, was held by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, United Kingdom (UK), which included teams from all over the globe.

A team of students from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) was also part of the tournament. They stood runners-up in the competition.


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The UAS Challenge requires university teams to design, build, test, and fly an Unmanned Aircraft System over a 9-month project cycle culminating in a live fly-off event held in the summer. However, the fly-off event was replaced with an X-Plane model simulation for teams competing virtually this year.

More than 30 international teams from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Russia, Sri Lanka, and the UK participated in this year’s competition.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s Challenge presented teams with a simulation of a natural disaster scenario, where relief aid packages must be delivered to areas inaccessible by humans.


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Participants were asked to choose an aircraft configuration best suited to the mission, including a fully autonomous flight from take-off to landing, navigating the route according to ground markers, and dropping the payload package accurately.

Team NUST Airworks achieved the second-highest cumulative score based on its submitted reports and X-Plane model across all virtual participants.

It also won the Safety Award, with the judges commenting:

“The [NUST Airworks] team gave an excellent explanation of their general approach and a good hazard table with clear consequences of concern, preventative and corrective measures.”

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