Last Wednesday, the student team DroneTeam Twente unveiled their newest drone to the world in a sold-out Concordia Theater: Thunderbird. The drone is designed for efficient medical aid delivery and uses a unique wing design that improves efficiency. With the aircraft, the team will compete against more than thirty other teams at the 2022 iMechE UAS Challenge, where the drone will carry out a simulated rescue mission.
The competition the team is participating in this year is the iMechE UAS Challenge, taking place from 6-8 July 2022. This is a yearly competition with the goal of encouraging drone innovation, where 34 university teams compete with self-built drones and helicopters. In the event, the drone will need to carry out a simulated disaster rescue mission by navigating, locating and dropping a medical aid package to the right location while flying autonomously. The more efficient your drone does this, the more points you score. This year the team’s goal is to finish in the podium positions, and bring back home a prize to Enschede.
Applications of the drone
However, while winning the competition would be a huge achievement, DroneTeam Twente aims to go further than that: “We want our drone innovations to be applied in the real world for humanitarian purposes. That is why we are looking for applications together with NGOs in remote areas such as sub-saharan Africa”, Philippe explains. In these areas, medical aid is hard to access. The roads are unsuitable for cars, or villages are not in the right location on the map. This can lead to problems if, for example, an ambulance is needed. For this, cheaper and more efficient drones are crucial. Thunderbird has been developed as a low-cost alternative by using a 3D-printed body, which is easily and sustainably repaired.
Examples where drones could help are time-sensitive deliveries, which includes vaccines, medicine and blood delivery. But drones can be used for more than that: “In the future, autonomous drones could be commonplace, and we are trying to make that happen.”
About DroneTeam Twente
DroneTeam Twente is a student team from the University of Twente consisting of thirteen members with one common mission: innovating and accelerating the drone industry. We do this by annually building an innovative drone and participating in the iMechE UAS Challenge, for which students need to design and develop new drone solutions that can perform an emergency aid mission. By participating in this, we aim to achieve our larger ambition of making a positive impact with drones in developing countries. For more information, contact us.