Haggis Aerospace are top in the UK in global engineering competition

Published on 28 June 2021

A group of students from across the University of Dundee have designed and manufactured a new drone that scored the most points overall of a team from the UK in the global IMechE UAS Challenge 2021.

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Despite challenging restrictions due to Covid, the Haggis Aerospace team consisting of engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists, and even a philosophy student, worked together to complete the drone and the technology behind it.

They tested the drone at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre where Spitfires, the famous planes of World War II once took to the skies.

“It was difficult to adapt to online working. When we are in the workshop, we can see what we are all working with such as materials, the scale. Collaboration on a practical project like this is just easier in person. But when we transferred to Discord, it was great because a big part of the work such as CAD (computer-aided design) and calculations had to be completed on computers anyway. We had a lot of help with getting organised from our former president and graduate, Steven Brison who showed us some industry practices for working online.”

Maksim (Max) Vassiljev, team leader and 2nd year Mechanical Engineering student

3 students working on the model

The IMechE UAS Challenge invites student teams undertake a full design and build cycle of an unmanned aerial system with a maximum take-off mass of 10kg to undertake specific mission objectives.

The system was required to operate automatically, performing a series of tasks such as area search, navigating waypoints, accurately dropping aid packages, and returning to base via a defined route.

Although overall first place went to University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in India, the team scored the most points for a UK team.

“The best part of the project was adapting to online meetings. We built up a strong rapport, played silly songs while working, it was a whole new experience. And of course, flying the drone at Montrose was great!”, explains Max.

“The skills I learned during the project helped with the actual studies. I had to learn 3D printing and CAD design before it was properly introduced on our course.”

“I hear from people the most is that they do not have enough experience join the Haggis Aerospace team, it is a huge misconception.”

“As someone who joined with zero knowledge and was taught by non-engineering students how to build planes, I can speak from experience. All that is needed is a bit of passion or even just desire to have fun, as that’s the main goal of the team.” 

Story category Student experience