Inaugural weekend sees DIRDI Drone Competition off to flying start!

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Durham students from across disciplines took part in DIRDI’s very own drone competition at the start of this year’s Easter Term. The weekend Drone competition, known as “EEOPS-D” (Exploring Entrepreneurial Opportunities using Drones), was the first in what will become an annual event for students. With the vital support of DIRDI Fellow and senior academic at Durham University’s Engineering Department, Dr Oliver Vogt, the session was a roaring success for all involved.

The event began with a short series of introductory talks, including a presentation by Dr Patrick Stowell, whose experience with advanced drone technologies provided helpful inspiration. Then, with little deliberation, the students were plunged straight into the deep end, albeit with the occasional helping hand from the DIRDI team.

Engineering undergraduate, Matthew Lee, stated, “I found the programme to be concise and insightful. We managed drone basics to building, and finally programming and actual flight in a course of 3 days. The most enjoyable part of this experience was to work with teammates to debug and refine our drone model. Watching it finally manage flight was truly satisfying!”

The intensive, three day event saw teams of physicists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists, most of whom had no prior experience in drones, competing to build, program, and fly their own drones. They even found the time to think about some interesting business cases, from search and rescue, to rollercoaster maintenance.

When it came to flying the drones, both manually and using pre-planned, automated flight missions, the teams were blessed with beautiful sunny weather. With the exception of a single crash, the flights went smoothly all round. Congratulations must go to the DU Spaceflight Team (pictured above): Fin Brown, Matthew Tomlinson, Isabelle Crossley, Timofey Zavileyskiy, and Daniel Worton, who were the ultimate victors.

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