Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 6, 2017: Six UAE-based university teams were selected as finalists for the inaugural UAE Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Payload Design Challenge, a joint program run by Lockheed Martin and Mubadala Investment Company.
Launched in March 2017, the year-long initiative challenges university students to design, develop and integrate civilian and industrial applications for Lockheed Martin's Indago, an unmanned aerial system that is renowned for its endurance and adaptability across diverse sectors including emergency response, national security, agriculture and commercial inspection.
Shortlisted from 63 applications, the finalists were chosen by an industry panel of executives from Lockheed Martin and Mubadala Investment Company.
Robert S. Harward, Chief Executive – UAE at Lockheed Martin, said: “Lockheed Martin's role will be to nurture and hone these students' science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related skills with the goal of transforming these ideas into commercial and industrial applications. Through this program, we hope to bridge the gap between university and industry.”
The challenge is headquartered at Lockheed Martin's Center of Innovation and Security Studies at Masdar City, where the students will have access to the company's robust additive manufacturing facility to build their prototypes with the help of a 3D printer.
Finalists for the UAS Payload Design Challenge include:
- A team from New York University Abu Dhabi that has proposed a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor payload that can detect glacier dynamics and sea levels to gauge the impact of climate change
- An all-female team from the Higher Colleges of Technology – Al Ain with a utilities application that involves a smart meter payload that can track electricity and water usage of residences in remote areas
- A team from Abu Dhabi Polytechnic with a water sampling payload that can analyze water supply in forests, mines and oceans
- A five-member team from the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi that has proposed a corrosion inspector payload, which involves a probe that can track and analyze metal pipes in oil & gas and water pipelines
- A six-member team from the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, whose lifeguard payload would track and assist distressed swimmers at sea
- An all-female team from the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi with a payload to measure radiation levels for climate monitoring and incident response
“Initiatives in STEM education and entrepreneurship matter, as they will help the UAE realize its goals of creating an agile, sustainable and knowledge-based economy,” said Fatima Al Marzouqi, Head of Education & Training, Aerospace, Renewables & ICT, Mubadala. “At Mubadala, we believe that today's youth are the pioneers of the future, engaging them in the transformative process through smart and engaging programs is therefore essential. We look forward to seeing these ideas come to fruition over the course of the challenge.”
Lockheed Martin engineers will spend the next phase of the program guiding and mentoring the student teams through the design and prototype process, offering them a rare opportunity to apply engineering and technological theories to create practical solutions for real world problems. The program will culminate with live field demonstrations of the projects, with the students having the option to retain the intellectual property of their applications.