Four juniors at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy clinched first place in the inaugural Mid-Atlantic AeroSpace Robotics Challenge.
A team of four juniors at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) clinched first place in the inaugural Mid-Atlantic AeroSpace Robotics Challenge (ARC). This Philadelphia-based event, sponsored by industry giants Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was held at the University of Pennsylvania's Pennovation Center.
The students – Karina Chan ver Der Helm, Cameron Lyon, Devin Gibson, and Shaun Gupte – built and trained a 500 mm drone quadcopter. Their mission: to simulate rapid delivery of crucial supplies during a disaster response. Their winning innovation included Time Trials, a head-to-head tennis ball pick-up and drop, and an autonomous "emergency supplies drop."
"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," Gibson said. He emphasized that the drone was made for under $600, indicating the financial feasibility of such a tech solution.
This winning quad wasn't the team's first significant project. All four students were part of the programming core of Team 1218, SCH's robotics team. They were also selected by NASA for 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.
The four received a certificate and a $2,000 cash prize, which will be directed toward the upcoming NEBP over the next year.
The ARC is designed to educate high school students about aerospace engineering, and encourage the design, building, programming, and flying of UAVs. The competition engages students in hands-on vehicle design and manufacturing, autonomous programming, and the design of experiments — all with an ethical mindset toward technology.
Under the mentorship of aerospace university students and industry professionals, the participants can expand their networks and deepen their understanding of this rapidly advancing field.