Elaborate challenges in quadcopter competition

Central Lakes College’s Quadcopter Team participated in NASA’s MN Space Grant Consortium’s Community College Quadcopter Challenge on April 15.

Eight student teams from five community colleges participated, with each team building an ELEV-8 quadcopter from a kit and creatively outfitting it to address a list of challenge goals. The goals included: adding rotor protection, using 3D printing to create a flexible camera mount, devising a mechanism for collecting granular and fluid samples and building an Arduino-logged sensor suite for environmental characterization.

All the teams work together collaboratively, with no place rankings. 

“The quadcopter challenge is quite elaborate,” said Nathan Peterson, CLC Robotics instructor.

During the season, each team creates three progress reports, four videos, holds weekly team meetings, gives bi-weekly status updates to a professor at the University of Minnesota and participates at the challenge event by giving an oral dissertation, preflight testing and demonstrations and multiple flight challenges such as four types of sample collection, close-up imaging, area mapping and maneuverability exercises.  

“The team did quite well until they experienced a catastrophic failure and crash, that crippled their vehicle, which they were unable to overcome during the event,” Peterson said. “We all had high expectations and were all devastated by the crash. I am proud of the team for their composure in dealing with their extreme situation.”

The schools that participated were: CLC, Century College, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Itasca Community College and MN West Community and Technical College.

Central Lakes College’s Quadcopter Team participated in NASA’s MN Space Grant Consortium’s Community College Quadcopter Challenge April 15. Pictured, team preparing their vehicle for the challenge events. Top left, counter clockwise: Collin McTague, Albert Lea; Dylan McCallson, Parkers Praire; Elizabeth Johnson, Verndale; Alexander Carr, Lake Elmo; Anna Stevens, Browerville. (Submitted photo)

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