Previously on UAV Challenge Medical Express…
Yesterday we saw seven teams fly and try and retrieve Outback Joe’s blood sample. Canberra UAV managed to identify Joe, land at his farm and bring his blood sample back to the Base. Two other teams got their aircraft to the farm but crashed. MAVLab TUDelft got hung up in a tree and ISAAC UAV was so hot that flames were seen coming out of its engines as it came down. Others had a range of issues that all resulted in aircraft coming down. The final day was always predicted to be a windy and wet day and the forecast appeared somewhat accurate as rain showers popped up most of the morning. Two teams flew. ArsNumerica-Jetstream from Poland were given the first chance of the day but elected to go to the back of the queue as they were not confident of GPS accuracy and the wind was relatively strong.
UNSW Canberra UAV Team went next but were interrupted by the weather and patiently waited until the rain stopped and the wind dropped. They had two great looking aircraft. The retrieval aircraft was a puller-prop, skid landing gear quad plane. The support aircraft was a sleek looking pusher prop fixed wing plane. The mission time began and there were some technical issues delaying the first take-off attempt. When take-off of the quad plane occurred it seems that one of the vertical lift motors had an issue and the plane came crashing down to the ground. The support aircraft took off shortly after to do a demonstration circuit of the first section of the transit corridor to show its incredible speed and capability. But the team could not attempt a full mission given that their retrieval aircraft was badly damaged.
The final team to fly in the competition was ArsNumerica-Jetstream, from Poland. They elected not to attempt a full mission due to the wind speed but instead showed their retrieval aircraft performing an autonomous take-off.
And that left MelAvio, also from Poland. They had had a crash during testing on the day before the event and although they gallantly attempted to integrated new components into their one remaining aircraft, they could not complete the work in time. They hence did not attempt to fly.
So that was it for flying! The judges retreated to their luxurious caravan (now drained of jelly snakes and red frogs) and tallied up the scores.
Canberra UAV were clearly first on points but did not complete the Challenge as their support aircraft crashed at the farm. But they did return the blood sample and this was a massive achievement and something that the organisers had not expected in the first running of the Medical Express event. Congratulations to them.
MAVLab TUDelft came second using their very new type of aircraft – the Delftacopter. They even managed to recover it from the very high tree at the end of the flying day yesterday, and so they were quite happy.
It was a fantastic few days and thanks go to all the teams and organisers (many of whom were volunteers).
A final thank you to our great sponsors. We could not do it without you!
Major supporter: Queensland Government
Platinum Sponsors: Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin
Silver: Little Ripper Lifesaver, MathWorks and CASA
Bronze: LightWare Optoelectronics, Defence Science and Technology Group, Australian Robotics & Automation Association and Western Downs Regional Council
Co-organised by Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and CSIRO’s Data61.