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ITU ATA become Grand Champions at UAS Challenge 2023

UAS Challenge Team

The Turkish team overcome fierce competition from University of Loughborough and University of Surrey to secure this year’s overall win.

Organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, this annual competition sees teams of university students around the world design, build and fly unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are capable of autonomous operation. Teams then travel with their UAS to an in-person fly-off event, where their UAS are scrutineered and assessed before taking part in missions intended to simulate humanitarian search and rescue or aid package drops.

The 2023 competition saw 19 teams take part with a variety of different designs, including a well-produced helicopter design from UCL to quad-copter variants from University of West England, Loughborough University and University of Twente and more familiar UAVs from teams including Heriot-Watt University and Brunel University.

Competition between teams remained friendly across the fly-off event and teams were seen helping each other around the marquee and flight line to get their UAS airbourne. 

The competition was delighted to welcome the all-female UAS2030 team of engineers from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia, who competed with a fixed wing UAS with V-tail and won the Business Proposition Award as well.

“I am pleased that the Institution can continue to support and enhance the career potential of these young engineers” said Rob Porter, Head of Events and Member Engagement. “This year has seen an unprecedented level of readiness and enthusiasm from teams, and we’ve seen more flying and successful flights across the last few days than ever before.”

Other activities taking place throughout the competition included a quiz night with free pizza, organised by the Institution’s young members division, and a 100-drone light show at dusk that wowed the crowds.

The full list of award winners are as follows:

  • Grand Champion – Team ATA – Istanbul Technical University
  • Runner Up – Team Dodo – University of Surrey
  • 3rd Place – Loughborough UAV – Loughborough University
  • Innovation Award – Team ATA – Istanbul Technical University
  • Design Award – IIT Bombay / Loughborough UAV
  • Simulation Award – ASPIRE - University of Western Macedonia
  • Scrutineering Award – IIT Bombay
  • Safety Award – Loughborough UAV – Loughborough University
  • Environmental Award – Loughborough UAV – Loughborough University
  • Airworthiness Award – Loughborough UAV – Loughborough University
  • Operational Supportability Award – UCL Nov - UCL
  • Business Proposition Award – UAS2023 - King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
  • Most Promise Award – LUNA – University of Leicester
  • Advancement Award – IIT Bombay
  • Media and Engagement Award – Aero Watt Heriot Watt University

Full results will be posted to the UAS Challenge website in the coming week.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is grateful for the support of its partners Ansys, Babcock International and Leonardo and its sponsors maxon group, PA Consulting and QinetiQ, together with the BMFA, AirDropBox, Mashoom, ARPAS-UK and TalentView. Additional thanks go to the dedicated group of volunteers who assist with judging, scrutineering and safety across the competition.

On behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the UAS Challenge Steering Group and all our sponsors, we would like to thank all teams for taking part and hope you enjoyed the opportunity to learn, develop and demonstrate your skills. For those graduating and starting your careers this summer, we wish you the best of luck and if you would like to join as a volunteer next year, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

As for all those returning to university in September, we look forward to welcoming you and your team in September 2023 when registration reopens for our special 10th year Anniversary of the UAS Challenge. We can’t wait to unveil all the details, so keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels for all the news and updates.


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