IMAV 2023 at RWTH Aachen University
International student teams fly their drones and discuss current developmentsCopyright: © RWTH Aachen
"Unmanned micro-aircraft systems" is what the expert calls them, to laypeople they're just called "drones". Twelve student teams from nine countries spent five days in Aachen demonstrating what these flight systems are capable of. RWTH Aachen University hosted IMAV 2023, the International Micro Air Vehicle Conference.
When experts from all over the world meet, it is of course important that they exchange ideas with one other. Expert knowledge was discussed, the latest developments were highlighted and opportunities were discussed. But the academic side is not everything, explains Professor Dieter Moormann, head of the Chair and Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH: "We think it is extremely important that what is learned must also be put into practice, that the students discuss solutions to problems among themselves. That is how we form the engineers of the future."
What this can look like was demonstrated, among other things, on the extensive grounds of the "Aldenhoven Testing Center". Here, the student teams had to use their drones to track down missing persons - ideally in a fully automated manner and within a specific time limit. Other factors that went into the evaluation were energy efficiency and the most coordinated use of the drones possible. "Of course, it always gets exciting when things don't work and the teams then help each other," says Professor Moormann. Finding the right answer to a wide variety of malfunctions is a core competence of future engineers, he said. Moormann continued, "Competitions like this are a great way to showcase the potential of young talent and drive innovation in the aerospace industry." The practical part in Aldenhoven was best solved by the team from ENAC (Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile) in Toulouse, France, with second place going to the ACAMAV student team from TU Braunschweig and third place to the UAS-DTU team from Delhi Technical University in India.
The conference part of the IMAV then focused, among other things, on the lessons learned from the practical part, the use of artificial intelligence, novel and preferably sustainable propulsion and automation concepts. The Institute of Flight System Dynamics at RWTH was the host of IMAV for the second time, an event that brings together experts and students every year. In addition to the technical discussions, the event is also about "valuable cross-national contacts," says Professor Dieter Moormann, who was highly satisfied with the results after the five days.