UAS4STEM is an annual educational youth drone competition organized by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the largest association of model aircraft and drone hobbyists in the US.
The competition’s project-based learning approach provides participants ages 11-19 with a unique opportunity to simultaneously learn technical skills in the area of drones and develop professional skills such as teamwork, communication, public speaking, time management, and troubleshooting.
For the 2023 season, teams composed of 4 to 10 students and an adult mentor will be tasked with designing and building their own drone to support missions such as waypoint flights and simulated missing person searches.
Teams that advance forward are expected to use their drones to locate equipment such as marshmallows, medical kits, and water bottles. Once found, the drone must pick up and deliver the materials to object-specific target locations.
Drone manufacturer Skydio is sponsoring the UAS4STEM competition and ensuring that students get bonus points for autonomy. The company explains in a blog post that the teams that qualify at the regional level will advance to the national finals held at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at the end of July.
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At Airventure, teams will compete over the course of multiple days. The first day of the competition will see students presenting an overview of their drone, its capabilities, testing, project development, and research to a series of judges from across the aviation industry and Skydio. After that, students will be tested on their flight ground school knowledge.
In subsequent days of the competition, teams would complete the flight components of the challenge: locating targets, collecting them, and bringing them to their appropriate drop-off locations. Teams will be allowed a short period to test their drone on the course before initiating the timed challenge.
Last year, the top three teams each received a Skydio 2+ Pro Kit to take home in addition to scholarship money, and a direct pathway into education and a career in a STEM field.
Registration for this year is open till March 1, 2023. To start the process, you will need to fill out a brief form and pay the registration fee to receive the official rule book, component spec list for your team’s drone, and roster form for AMA memberships, and ground school credentials. More details here.
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