The 5th edition of the 2017-2018 Dassault UAV Challenge closed with the final on June 16 and 17, 2018 at DronePort airfield in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. It was co-organized by the Human Resources Department, the General Technical Directorate and the General International Directorate.
This challenge offers both a competitive and collaborative platform for the teams of students from universities and engineering schools. They are asked to assemble a Hexacopter drone kit integrating various sensors and to program it to perform a mission, autonomously, by recognizing markers on the ground to define a flight plan.
This is a multi-year challenge and the tests become increasingly complex from one year to the next. The solutions developed are enhanced at each event. The goal of the students is therefore twofold: to develop and pass on. The teams are graded on their ability to assemble and program the drone and the quality of their handover report. These two principles help to guarantee the development of the project from year to year.
Around thirty students participated in the 2017-2018 Challenge, coming from the Centrale-Supelec, ENSAM ParisTech, ENSTA, ESTACA, ESTIA, ISAE-ENSMA and the Belgian university, KU LEUVEN.
Apart from the competition, the students also benefited from a virtual reality demonstration, a presentation of 1:5 scale Rafale aero-models and of the Falcon 6X in flight and on the ground and a conference on the nEUROn program.
For Dassault Aviation, investing in this competition meets four objectives:
- to get students working on sensor and systems integration issues in order to conduct complex aeronautical missions like those encountered in industry;
- to help them master project management techniques (planning, task distribution. reports, etc.);
- to make them aware of the importance of teamwork and communication in making their projects a success (progress meetings, inter-team exchanges, debriefs, etc.);
- to familiarize them with knowledge capitalization processes through handover to the following teams (handover report).