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NCSU CentMesh Drones Challenge

2014-15: Firefighting Drones Challenge !

Through 2014-15, we are hosting a new student challenge. This time, it will not only be a programming challenge, but also a challenge to design and hone some of the drone's subsystems. In addition, there will be specific real-world mission - to design and demonstrate a drone capable of aiding a firefighter by going into burning buildings as advance guard. More details are available from the Firefighting Drone Challenge webpage. That page also contains information of the ongoing challenge activities in Fall, 2014, and the video for the kickoff information session held on August 22. In Spring, 2015, this challenge will continue with the integration and demonstration of complete firefighting drones. If you are interested in participating, you may contact Dr. Rudra Dutta (CSC), Dr. Mihail Sichitiu (ECE), Dr. Edgar Lobaton (ECE), or Dr. Larry Silverberg (MAE) for more information.

The 2014-15 challenge is being sponsored in part by Aruba Networks and Northrop Grumman, in addition to support from the CSC, ECE and MAE departments, and other campus organizations. We are grateful for their support.

Aruba Networks logo blank Northrop Grumman logo

Past: First NCSU CentMesh Drones Challenge comes to end

The first ever programming challenge at NCSU on unmanned aerial computing platforms culminated in a day-long final challenge in which the finalist teams took turns running their programs on CentMesh drones to see if their code would - ahem - fly.

All the code submitted by the finalist teams performed admirably. There was only one quasi-crash (forced landing) which turned out, upon examination of the logs, to have been the fault of a firmware bug and not the code submitted for the challenge. Team YOLO (Konstantinos Christidis, Yun Wang) and Team Splash Brothers (Hong Xiong, Fengyuan Gong, Miguel Báguena Albaladejo) were adjudged to have done the best, and shared joint first place - each team won a $1000 prize. Team Garuda (Abhijeet Deshpande, Neha Gholkar) took a very honorable third place, for a $500 prize.

The six-month long programming challenge was educational and fascinating for all of us: participants, organizers, and spectators. We look forward to making this a regular event - probably annual. Later years may add other mobile computing aspects, other than drones. We also hope to open it up to broader participation, beyond NCSU. We will start gearing up for that soon; if interested in competing, helping organize, sponsoring, or participating in some other way, please get in touch in Fall 2014. Looking forward to it.

Here are a few pictures from the event - we will add more pictures and videos to the gallery soon. If you have any to share, please do email us, or share on Google drive or Velocity with Prof. Mihail Sichitiu or Prof. Rudra Dutta. News & Observer did a story on the event, and more information is also available from the rest of this website.

Thanks to our Sponsors

US Army Research Laboratory logo Aruba Networks logo

 
Overall support for the CentMesh facility, including the drones, has been provided by the US Army Research Office, through grants W911NF-08-1-0105 and W911NF-09-1-0341.

The 2014 NCSU CentMesh Drones Challenge was supported by Aruba Networks, our grand sponsor. Aruba's support made possible the cash prizes for winners, other incidental support such as snacks for tutorials and the final challenge, t-shirts, and more. We are grateful to Aruba Networks for their support of this student engagement activity.

NCSU entities that provided logistics or other support for the challenge are: Office of Information Technology, Department of Computer Science, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The event was hosted by the NCSU Institute for Technology of the Next Generation.

Challenge finalists and organizers on final challenge day


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Drone flying on NCSU Oval