UOW Malaysia KDU Engineering Students Amongst Winners Within RFS Drone Challenge

Lee Wei Hou, Pavithren Uthayasurian, Teoh Jiehan and Chan Lap Foong demonstrate their light-weight delivery drone called ‘Harpy’.

Team “Harpy Delivery Drone” with the Harpy drone.

Lee Wei Hou, Pavithren Uthayasurian, Teoh Jiehan and Chan Lap Foong within the UOW Malaysia KDU School of Engineering.

Announcing Harpy as the 3rd place winner in the national level RFS Drone Challenge.

By UOW Malaysia KDU

Four of UOW Malaysia KDU’s Engineering students recently participated within the RFS Drone Challenge, with the drone they designed and built securing third place within a competitive field of participants drawn from prominent universities across Malaysia.  The RFS Drone Challenge was a challenge to create a light-weight drone solution for delivery service companies, using a 3D printed light-weight quadcopter with the ability to quickly and safely retrieve/deliver parcels. Participants were tasked with finding a solution that would increase parcel weight capacity and/or increase the flight time of the drone. The year-long competition was organized by RF Station and culminated within the final presentation and drone flight test on 24th April 2021.  The following organizations partnered with RF Station in bringing this exciting challenge to Malaysian tertiary students: Dassault Systemes, the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), Asia Drone Technical Academy, University of Nottingham, Mawea Industries, SG Education Group, and EVOLVE3D.

Apart from UOW Malaysia KDU, the drone challenge drew participants from other universities within Malaysia, such as the University of Nottingham Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Taylor’s University, Curtin University, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, INTI International University & Colleges, and UCSI University. This was a unique event that allowed students to go beyond textbook knowledge, through connecting their learning with solving a real-world industry focused challenge. Students utilized the latest digital technology to design, simulate, build, and fly their innovation, a light-weight delivery drone. The UOW Malaysia KDU team assigned their resulting drone the endearing name of the “Harpy Delivery Drone”.

At the prompting of their lecturer, four Mechatronics Engineering/ Electrical & Electronics Engineering students formed a team. When forming their team, they were mindful of the need to leverage their different skill sets and knowledge to produce an innovative solution to the task they had been set. Having decided on the composition of their team they expended significant time and effort refining and applying their skills in Project Management, SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software, 3D Printing, Mechanical Simulation, and Drone Design, to complete the challenge.

The competition brief required that they start from scratch in designing and building a delivery drone that could exceed specified minimum requirements in terms of both parcel capacity weight and flight time. They were required to do this within the constraints of the limited range of drone components provided and their ability to design a 3D printed light-weight quadcopter. Apart from the minimum requirements, the team had to consider safety and robustness issues, such as ensuring high levels of electronic protection and mechanical structural integrity. In the first round of the competition they had to design the drone and simulate it on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, analyze and optimize the drone design to ensure attainment of the minimum requirements specified within the brief. In recognition of their proficiency the ‘Harpy” team was placed in the top 10 finalists and qualified to proceed to the final round of the competition.

After qualifying for the finals, the team immediately started work on drone fabrication, conducting a test runs, fine-tuning, modification and project optimization. All the hard work and teamwork finally resulted in the “Harpy Delivery Drone”, a 3D printed light-weight quadcopter drone with the ability to quickly and safely retrieve the parcel for delivery. In the final, held on 24th April 2021, Harpy secured third prize in the RFS Drone Challenge- firmly establishing the UOW Malaysia KDU team as technically competent innovators.

Congratulations to Lee Wei Hou, Pavithren Uthayasurian, Teoh Jiehan and Chan Lap Foong for designing and building the “Harpy Delivery Drone” and for securing 3rd place in this intense national-level competition.


18 May 2021


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