Mechanical engineering students from the M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT) are still euphoric from their victory at the ninth annual Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) competition held between June 15 and 19 at Maryland, U.S.

Although this was their first time competing, the team proved their mettle by winning third place for Autonomous Flight, fourth place for their journal presentation and 10th place overall amongst 36 universities from across the globe, winning a total of $ 2,700.

Test models

The SUAS competition is about constructing an auto-piloted unmanned air vehicle. Contestants have to build then test their models and also present a journal paper describing their process. Finalists are shown their flight path a day before the competition and the planes have to fly according to the directions provided, apart from identifying certain objects on the ground placed in their flight path.

HD camera

The team did this by having an on-board HD camera that sent images of the objects to a laptop.

The GPS coordinates of the objects and their distance from the plane were then determined using image processing software. It was for this flight that the MSRIT team won third place, and first place in teams from Asia.

The team

The members of the victorious MSRIT team were students Prateek Khanna (Team Captain), Prasanna Ragunathan (Team Vice-Captain), Vishnu B.N., Srikant Singh and Rajharsee Rahul. The Project Mentor was Prashant T. Kiran Kulkarni and Surendranth from the Department of Aerospace at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) helped in the project.

Mr. Ragunathan was pleased that the team's plane had managed to survive the adverse, windy conditions that day, surpassing formidable teams from Mississippi and Florida.