Engineering Team Competes in International Drone Competition

Four School of Engineering students were among the 18 teams of young engineers-in-training that competed for the right to call themselves world champion drone builders at the 22nd annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers Student Design Competition finals last month at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exhibition in Montreal.

The St. Thomas ASME Club earned entrance into the international competition by placing second among 27 teams at the regional competition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Team members included Sean Lipinski, Benjamin Stassen, John Miller and Anthony Jaworski.

In addition to the 11 institutions from the U.S., the Montreal event included universities from Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Turkey, Mexico and France. Each team was tasked with designing and building an original drone, and then piloting it successfully through a series of high and low obstacles, completing a targeted payload drop and returning to the start.

The St. Thomas team performed admirably, guiding the largest drone of the competition through some very tight spaces, according to School of Engineering Dean Don Weinkauf. "This is an impressive group of students, who have given an incredible amount of time outside of their normal classwork, to design, build and compete for the University of St. Thomas at a very high level," Weinkauf said. "I could not be more proud of their commitment and accomplishments."

Watch a video of the St. Thomas drone in action.

In 2013, the St. Thomas team placed first at regionals and attended the international ASME competition in San Diego.