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Students take part in competition to build unmanned aerial vehicles

Higher Colleges of Technology students to take part in UAE Innovation Challenge 2013

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Teams of intrepid engineering and avionics students from the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) will compete this week for domination in the skies over Abu Dhabi as they participate in the UAE Innovation Challenge 2013 — where they have to design, build, test and pilot autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The 2013 Innovation Challenge, held from April 23-24 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, encourages students to apply their mathematical and scientific knowledge to a real world engineering project. As part of the challenge, 11 teams, made up of male and female students from HCT, learn the engineering process of designing, building and testing/flying their unmanned aircraft, as well as developing team work and presentation skills.

The event is hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology in cooperation with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment (ADASI). The 11 teams prepared their aircraft over a five month syllabus with the assistance and mentoring from HCT faculty and Engineers from Northrop Grumman Corporation and ADASI. Northrop Grumman also supplied the teams with identical aircraft kits as part of the Challenge.

Now in its third year, the Challenge is a continuation of the successful partnership between Northrop Grumman and HCT that began in 2010, and which further expands Northrop Grumman’s focus on domestic and international educational programs that deepens student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers.

The Challenge will be open to the public as spectators and it will see the eleven HCT teams compete in various criteria, including the flying competition that meets specific engineering requirements. It will culminate in an official awards ceremony to be held on Thursday, April 25, at the HCT Abu Dhabi Men’s College.

Gene Fraser, vice-president of Programs, Quality and Engineering at Northrop Grumman Corporation, said Northrop Grumman’s partnership in the UAE Innovation Challenge was part of its ongoing mandate to support educational initiatives and training programmes.

“Northrop Grumman is focused on educational programmes and partnerships especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) areas and events such as this Challenge encourage students to realise the importance science, technology and mathematics play in their everyday lives today as they prepare to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Fraser said.

“The Innovation Challenge is one of the many steps undertaken by Northrop Grumman and its partners HCT, ADASI and AUVSI to promote a diversified economy and educated youth across the UAE,” Fraser added.

Sultan Karmostaji, HCT Associate Provost, said the Higher Colleges of Technology were very proud to co-host the Challenge for the third year, as it had significant student learning outcomes. “We will see our students, both male and female, demonstrate with great skill how they are able to utilise the knowledge they gain in their courses in such a practical, applied and hands-on manner.”

“This Challenge is a wonderful example of HCT’s learning by doing philosophy, where our students gain valuable project-based skills which will support them in the workforce. We thank Northrop Grumman, ADASI and AUVSI for providing their ongoing support to enriching our students with these experiences in the fields of engineering, technology and unmanned aerial vehicles,” he added.