Another success in an international competition for a team from Sant'Anna School. The new achievement comes from an international competition dedicated to the use of drones, used as firefighting systems in unknown environments. “Santdrone”, this is the name of the team, has been admitted to the finals, scheduled in Croatia from June 21 to 24. In the eliminatory phase, the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna team competed against 53 teams from 22 countries.
The Sant'Anna School’s team consisted of Michael Mugnai, as team leader, and Edwin Herrera, PhD Students at the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence of the Sant'Anna School, along with Massimo Teppati Losè, a thesis student in Robotics and Automation Engineering at the University of Pisa, and qualified among the finalists in the first edition of the “ICUAS Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Competition”, which is a competition dedicated to unmanned aerial vehicles that saw 53 student teams from around the world compete.
The team was eligible to compete in the final competition at the ICUAS (International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Association) Conference, a non-profit organization that, for the first time, has organized a competition for unmanned aerial vehicles during its main event, which, for 2022, is planned for June 21-24 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The international competition focuses on the participation of students, who will be able to test their skills related to autonomous drone flight in unfamiliar environments.
In particular, the task of this international competition consists of the use of drones as firefighting systems and includes autonomous exploration skills and challenges on tasks such as mapping, obstacles detection and avoidance, target identification and precise extinguisher delivery.
In the first phase of the competition the 53 participating teams, from more than 22 Countries, competed against each other in a simulated environment, with assessment related to aspects of precise extinguisher delivery, collisions with obstacles and time required to complete the mission. The team of Sant’Anna School, thanks to its positive result, ranked among the top five teams, gaining access to the second and final phase of the challenge. The competition takes place live, in a real environment, with drones provided by the organization. The drone, in complete autonomy, is required to take off from an unknown location, and traverse the unknown environment marked by the presence of obstacles. The mission continues in a research area, where it will be necessary to identify a target of the extinguishing agent release position, and finally, the aerial vehicle is required to complete the cargo release operation, through an aggressive flight manoeuvre.
The competition, part of the association's most important event of the annual conference, allows students enrolled in a degree program or PhD program to come into contact with an important entity that aims to promote knowledge of the field of unmanned aviation.
“Seeing our students gaining the final stage of an international competition says Massimo Satler, Coordinator of the Autonomous Drones Area of the Intelligent Automation System Group, Institute of Mechanical Intelligence of the Sant'Anna School, led by Carlo Alberto Avizzano – is a source of pride and a strong motivation to continue pushing in experimenting and increasing our knowledge in the Aerial Robotics sector. Regardless of the obtained result and what will be achieved in the final live session, the challenge promoted by ICUAS is an educational experience allowing to get in touch and compare yourself with the main references of research in the context of UAVs”.