The University of Twente and UT startup Clear Flight Solutions have won the first round of DroneClash. Droneclash is, among others, organised by the Dutch National Police. Teams have to come up with anti-drone measures and have to defeat the drones of an opponent. The team from Twente was the most successful and took home the first prize of 30,000 euro.
Fighters and Queen
The team from Twente built three manoeuvrable, robust drones, reinforced with carbon fibre, for this competition. Two of these, the so-called fighters (the attacking drones) flew quickly to the opponent and struck well-aimed blows. The Queen (the third drone) had to stay in the air no matter what.
The Queen from Twente turned out to be manoeuvrable enough to avoid the fighters of the opponents. UT-er Geert Folkertsma: “For our win we have to thank the great drone design, combined with the excellent skills of the team. Niels Meerdink, Egbert van der Laan and Tjerk Verbraaken, the other team members, proved to be the best pilots in the competition and also won the prize for best piloting skills.”
Besides working for UT, Geert Folkertsma, also works for Clear Flight Solutions (CFS), the UT startup that builds robot birds (Robird) that keep airports clear of birds. “The UT and CFS proved to be an ideal partnership for this competition. The technology and facilities of the university with the skills of the designers and pilots of CFS. By the way, Clear Flight Solutions is looking for additional pilots for the Robird, so hopefully the success at DroneClash creates interest from other pilots.”
The department of Robotics and Mechatronics (RaM) at the UT and Clear Flight Solutions supported the team with time, money and materials. Both RaM and CFS develop drone applications for, among other things, inspection and maintenance. CFS flies its robot birds around airports to keep the 'real' birds away from the runways. This is always done in close contact with the air traffic controllers, so that safety is ensured. There are also people who illegally fly commercially available drones above the city or near airports, which can create safety issues. This is why the police was the main sponsor of the DroneClash event.