Leeds students help design unmanned aerial vehicle

Four Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering students from the School of Mechanical Engineering have helped design an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to be presented at the Farnborough Airshow.


Commonly known as a drone, a UAV is an aircraft without a human pilot on board, guided either under the remote control of a navigator on the ground or autonomously by computers in the vehicle. The small, portable UAV designed by Edward Kolb, Carl Muldal, Aaron Parkinson, and Graham Robertson in collaboration with EADS Innovation Works will be capable of being controlled via wireless video communication over a short distance. It has a wingspan of about 1.5m and could be used as a tool for surveillance, search and rescue or disaster control.

The UAV was designed and built using a rapid-prototyping method known as additive layer manufacturing, or 3-D printing. This revolutionary manufacturing process allows single products to be grown from a fine powder of metal (such as titanium, stainless steel or aluminium), nylon or carbon-reinforced plastics.   A part is designed on a computer, which then directs a high-powered laser at material in powder form, melting it into a solid shape, repetitively, layer by layer, until the desired part is completed.

The UAV is currently part of the EADS exhibit at the Farnborough Air Show.

Read more about the UAV and the work done by the Leeds students.

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