Drones Conquer EFx Rutgers


Drones, also known as unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs), were the focus of the latest EFx held at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.

More than 70 people attended the event, which was the second EFx event to be held in the United States since the program’s launch last year.

This EFx featured a keynote session discussing a UAV that operates equally well in both the air and underwater, a session offering students an introduction to UAV technology, and a session discussing the latest developments in ASME’s Standards & Certification related to mobile unmanned systems—as well as two student competitions.

The event opened with an absorbing keynote presentation from F. Javier Diez-Garias, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers, titled “The Naviator Drone, Conquering Air and Water.” Dr. Diez-Garias talked about the historical UAVs and his Naviator drone—the first unmanned inspection vehicle capable of functioning in both air and water and moving smoothly between the two environments. This drone was originally developed as a student project.

Onur Bilgen, assistant professor in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at Rutgers, showed students how UAVs functioned and provided them with the chance to operate a drone themselves.

The EFx also hosted two student competitions: the CAD Battle, which put the students' design skills to the test; and the Elevator Pitch Competition, in which students had 90 seconds to pitch a unique drone and convince judges of its potential for significant change in improving an existing process.

Trent Slutzky, a student from Stevens Institute of Technology, finished first in the CAD Battle, followed by Stephen Forte of Stevens Institute of Technology, and James Schober of Manhattan College.

Rutgers University students won the first four spots in the Elevator Pitch Competition: Muhammad Khan, Rennato Herrera, Jennifer Schug, and Vignesh Sridhar.

Also, a new challenge was announced for the upcoming E-Fests. "The Unmanned Aerial Racing Cargo Vehicle (UARCV)” challenge tasks students with designing and manufacturing a UARCV using additive manufacturing and an iterative design process. Details for the 2020 challenge can be found here.

Learn more about the upcoming EFx events.

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