An engineering power team comprised of four SCH juniors earned first place this past weekend at Philadelphia’s first Aerospace Robotics Challenge (ARC), sponsored by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the drone cage at the Pennovation Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
The foursome—Karina Chan ver Der Helm, Cameron Lyon, Devin Gibson, and Shaun Gupte—has been working since the fall to build and train a drone to follow remote commands as well as a pre-programmed route that would simulate the rapid delivery of medical supplies or other essential items necessary for disaster response.
The team took first place in each of the three competitions:
- Time Trials
- Head-to-Head tennis ball pick-up and drop
- Autonomous "emergency supplies drop"
“This drone was manufactured for under $600, so the financial barrier to potentially build medical transportation equipment is relatively low to the task at hand, which is pretty incredible when you think about it,” says Lyon. “We are four high school students who, in seven months, designed and built a drone that—if continually improved upon—could be used in those types of settings.”
This is also the same four-person team responsible for programming on the school’s robotics team, Team 1218, and the very same group that was selected by NASA to participate in its Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEBP). “The polish of their presentation and their drone’s performance at the competition set them apart from the other groups,” says SCH Engineering and Robotics Chair Peter Randall.
Their first-place finish included a certificate and $2,000 in prize money that will be used to offset the cost of the NASA-sponsored NEBP that the team will be participating in over the next year. See the story here.