Highlander Drone Competition

The Highlander Drone Competition

The Newark College of Engineering Drone Competition 2019

The Newark College of Engineering announces the Highlander Drone Competition, a design, construction and flying contest of student-constructed small to medium-scale drones.

The competition is open to all NJIT undergraduate and graduate students. It will be held on 1 May 2019 at NJIT.

The winning team in each one of the two competition categories will receive a $2000 prize.

Registration is now open. Interested students are asked to register in teams of 2-3 students and compete for start-up grants to start the design and construction of the drones.

Click here to register (Or use: https://goo.gl/forms/EUT08cUi4hPDwANE3)

What do you need to do?

(1)  Form a team (2-3 NJIT students) and complete the on-line registration form. (If you are not part of a team the register individually and we will try to find you a team)

(2)  Attend a weekly ‘drone building’ workshop/work meeting (every Friday, 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM while school is in session) in Fenster 225.

(3)  The workshops/work meetings will start on 19 October 2018 and continue until a week before the competition.

  • These workshops will be given by NJIT faculty and research staff and will provide information and instructions for building drone hardware and control software.
  • Participants will be asked to bring their laptop computers to each workshop session.
  • Participants will be asked to install all necessary software (to be provided by the workshop instructors) on their laptop computers and use this software for drone design and construction.

(4)  Design, develop, and build hardware for a drone (or a set of drones), that can perform semi-autonomous or autonomous tasks.

(5)  Design, implement, and test software architecture design for such drone(s).

(6)  Demonstrate the drones in flight during the 1 May 2019 competition and win the grand prize.

How will the teams be selected and funded?

Based on the participation record at the weekly workshops and a preliminary design that each design team will be asked to present, the workshop instructors will select up to ten (10) teams for the competition. These teams will receive up to $2000 each for components and parts.

Important dates:

Team Registration: 5 – 30 October, 2018 (however, if interested, students should start attending the weekly Friday meetings on 19 October 2018)

Workshops: Fridays, 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM at Fenster 225, starting 19 October 2018. 1 May 2019 at NJIT

Final Competition: 1 May 2019 at NJIT

Drone Tasks

The competition will be divided into two task categories (each participating team will choose one category).

1) Path Planning – The drone will travel through an obstacle course in the minimum amount of time, while performing specific maneuvers and tasks. These tasks will include...

  • Picking up a payload of 25-50 grams and delivering it at a specific spot along the obstacle course
  • Capturing a high-resolution photograph of a specific object along the obstacle course
  • Measuring temperature and CO2 concentration at a specific location along the obstacle course

2) Drone Swarms – A multi-robot system of several simple drones will be demonstrated in flight. These flying robots should...

  • Create formations in flight
  • Monitor an area of interest
  • Carry small objects from one point to another.

Additional information about the workshops and suggested hardware/software set-up is given below. If you have any questions or concerns, please send them to drones@njit.edu and use the subject: Highlander Drone Competition Inquiry.

Drone Workshops

In the weekly Friday workshops, participants will learn the basics of embedded systems and their role in modern drone systems.

Topics covered during the workshops are:

Session 1: General information. Safety. Objectives, timelines and milestones. Competition rules. Definition of tasks and Obstacle Course. Competition scoring.

Session 2-3: Basic drone flight aerodynamics and sensors. Computer and flight controller setup and software installation. Energy and batteries. Safety procedures. Drone assembly.

Session 4-5: Setting up a simulated drone environment. SITL (Software in the loop). Flight plans in a simulated environment.

Session 6-7-8: Flight controller integration for hardware in the loop simulations (HITL). Drone communication protocols. PID controller tuning. Manual test flight using a remote controller.

Session 9-10-11: Autonomous flight using a microcontroller attached to a flight controller. Flight planning. Safe return to home.

The remaining Friday meetings will be devoted to work on the drones and to testing.

Hardware/software setup (subject to change)

●  A Raspberry Pi 3 with an SD card of 16 GB or more.

●  A Quad X frame for building a drone. The teams can use any quad X body as a frame and get the motors according to approved specifications. It is preferred to use RX2206- 13 2000kv / RX2206-11 2350kv for generating good amount of power and thrust. These motors are good for a mini quad X QAV 250 copters.

●  Teams should use a 4S battery which has a continuous 75C discharge as this will offer low internal resistance, which will help to fly these drones in any season. The capacity of the battery must be should be at minimum 1800 mAH.

●  A Pixhawk 2.0 (Flight controller) for motion planning and autonomous flying of the copter.

●  A HERE+ GPS module (which comes with the Pixhawk controller). This GPS gives an accuracy of 1m, which is really important in the case of swarm robotics. If not using a Pixhawk controller, it is recommended to equip the copter with the HERE+ GPS module.

●  A Frsky Taranis X10 remote controller will be needed for each copter. This will help us in saving our drone from crashing into obstacles, as well as for the fail-safe operation in case it goes out of control.

●  A Radio Dev Board will be required for radio communication between the copters.