June 17, 2024

RoboNation’s SUAS Competition Comes to St. Mary’s

Hundreds of university and high school students from more than 70 schools across the globe will descend on Southern Maryland to compete their self-built unmanned systems at the 22nd annual RoboNation Student Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) Competition on June 25-26 at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, the Navy’s center for aircraft development, has hosted, staffed, and judged the competition since its inception in 2002.

RoboNation’s SUAS Competition gives students an opportunity to showcase their engineering skills while fostering cooperation with the international STEM community and inspiring future aerospace talent.

This year’s unmanned obstacle course challenges the students to build an unmanned system that focuses on logistics transportation, requiring systems to travel to a recipient, identify drop locations, and safely deliver a package autonomously—all while avoiding other UAVs. Student teams who are the top achievers in technical design, flight readiness, and mission demonstration will take home up to $20,000 in cash prizes.

Navy pilots and engineers—many who are former competitors themselves—will be on site to help student teams get their systems airborne and safely navigated through the course, and Navy leaders will serve as safety officials and competition judges.

NAWCAD recruiters will also be on site to share employment opportunities with undergraduate participants. With a workforce of more than 17,000 people, NAWCAD is Southern Maryland’s largest employer, and the D.C. region’s largest source of STEM jobs.

Teams this year will join from California Polytechnic State University, Cornell University, Purdue University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of California at Berkley, University of Illinois, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Virginia Tech, and more.

Additionally, the competition features participation from international schools across Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Italy, United Kingdom, Norway, and beyond.

Meet the teams at suas-competition.org/teams.

The event is open to the public. Guests can secure a free ticket online at the RoboNation shop.

RoboNation, a nonprofit organization, is on a mission to provide hands-on robotics education, empowering students to tackle global challenges. With a portfolio of nine educational programs spanning K-12 and university levels, RoboNation cultivates the next generation of engineers, manufacturers, fabricators, programmers, and more.

Participants in RoboNation programs represent the highly skilled workforce of tomorrow.

International teams pose for a photo with their self-built unmanned systems on the flightline following the annual RoboNation Student Unmanned Air Systems competition in partnership with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Southern Maryland in June 2023. The engineering competition has grown to more than 70 international team participants since its inaugural event in 2002. (RoboNation photo via NAVAIR News)

The Patuxent Partnership is helping to publicize this event. TPP is a nonprofit member organization that fosters collaboration between government, industry, and academia to advance education through STEM-based initiatives; to advance technology through speaker programs, forums, and networking; to advance science and technology transfer through the exchange of ideas, information, and data related to technologies; and to increase workforce development through an array of initiatives.

To learn more about The Patuxent Partnership and its programs, visit its Leader member page.

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