Author: Jolanta Skwaradowska     Published At: 01.07.2022

Silesian University of Technology students’ success at Droniada 2022

Another success for the students of the Silesian University of Technology from the High Flyers student scientific association! At this year’s Droniada, they won first place in the Relay competition and received a special prize. 

The Droniada GZM 2022 Technology Competition has finished on the 29th of June. Nine teams took part in this year’s edition and competed in various competitions. The Silesian University of Technology team won in the Relay competition and also received a special prize from the Łukasiewicz Research Network - Institute of Aviation. 

‘The Droniada is a place where all enthusiasts of drone flying come together, not only students from student scientific associations but also companies. Here, students showcase their skills and can thus make contact with their potential employers. They can also exchange knowledge and experience with students from other universities, which is also a form of education’ said prof. Roman Czyba.

The students from the High Flyers scientific association at SUT took part in three competitions: System Demo, Relay, and Tree of Life. In the Relay competition, they won first place. Here, the participants' task was to mark out a movement path for the rescue teams. ‘This competition was quite demanding because the flight was already out of sight. The scenario involved difficult weather conditions, such as fog in which a group of people got lost and needed help to reach their destination. Therefore, so-called beacons - small capsules with light diodes - are dropped from the drone. (...) These light pulses indicate the direction of further movement’ explained prof. Roman Czyba.

In this competition, the Silesian University of Technology team proved to be the best. ‘We have been preparing for the competition all year. Participation in Droniada is a chance for us to develop, we observe what other student scientific associations are doing, we talk, and we inspire each other. We can meet companies that deal with drones here, establish cooperation with them and maybe get a job in the future' said Marcel Król from the High Flyers.

The Silesian University of Technology has many years of experience in drone technology, emphasised the Vice Rector for Infrastructure and Promotion, prof. Tomasz Trawiński, who was present at the event. ‘This technology is developing intensively. And it has entered our everyday life. (...) Drones can be used in society at large. They can drop vaccines that combat rabies among foxes. They can be used in rescue operations. There are many possible applications for drones. (...) It is a modern, cheap, rapidly developing technology. It is certainly worth investing in' said Vice Rector Tomasz Trawiński.

‘We have already presented the use of our drones at Intarg. Last year, it was a drone for diagnosing bridge structures, while this year, it was a drone for distributing rabies vaccine to foxes’ added prof. Roman Czyba.

This year's Droniada was held for the 9th time. The main organiser of the event is the Micromacro Institute Foundation. The co-organiser is the Silesian University of Technology. The competition is organised as a multidisciplinary competition that showcases the capabilities of Industry 4.0 technologies, with a focus on drones, ICT, and information analysis systems. It is open to academic teams, open teams, and individual participants who can combine knowledge from robotics, ICT, geo-informatics, electronics, and aviation.

‘The Droniada aims to demonstrate the ability to program missions and combine programming skills with the capabilities of flying robots, as well as teamwork’ said Sławomir Kosieliński, CEO of the Micromacro Institute Foundation.

This year, the event took place at Katowice -  Muchowiec airport and lasted from the 25th to the 29th of June. Participants had five competitions to choose from. The first - Unmanned Aircraft System Demo - was mandatory for all. It consisted of presenting a short film introducing the team and its idea to enter the competition.

The second competition, the Relay, showcased the capabilities of drones to support search and rescue and firefighting operations.

The third competition, Tree of Life, tested participants' remote sensing skills using machine learning and automatic selection systems. It presented the possibilities of using drones in agriculture.

Another competition - Intruder - involved detecting an unauthorised person at the airport and following them to the boundaries of the airport area.

The final competition - Construction - tested participants' photogrammetry and remote sensing skills using machine learning in simulated warehouse construction site conditions.

The final of the competition took place on the 29th of June 2022. The best teams received cash prizes. This year, the prize pool was PLN 50,000. The Silesian University of Technology team received a total of PLN 9000. 

The finale at the airport also featured a demonstration of a search and rescue operation using drones and a demonstration of medical transport by drone to an injured person.

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