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It’s a plane! It’s a bird! No, it’s Droneship!

A project of an unusual air vehicle with 3D-printed components named “Droneship” was created by the students of National Research Irkutsk State Technical University (NRISTU) and it reached the final stage of the competition “The future of aviation”.

An annual engineering competition “The Future of Aviation” is run by United Aircraft Corporation, which is a part of the Russian state corporation “Rostec”. Eight challengers reached the final, including the Droneship project created by Alexey Koval and Alexander Gruzdev – the fifth year the students of the Institute of aircraft building and transport of  NRISTU.

According to the university’s press office, the Associate Professor of aircraft manufacture and aircraft equipment operation Igor Bobaric manages the group. The platform of off-aerodrome location is created on the basis of a paddleboat, it is controlled manually and is able to take off vertically. Also, it can conduct long-term low-speed flights and is able to handle substantial amounts of on-board equipment. The device can be used for long-term observation, cartography and geological exploration, for  search-and-rescue operations, providing communication, etc.

The air platform is constructed with the wide use of computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering. Additive technologies and composite materials whose percentage reaches 60%, were used in the production of the prototype. In January 2019 the team won a competition of Innovations Assistance Fund as a part of the “Start” program and got the $32 000 funding for the project realization.

Lubava Shepeleva, staff director at UAC commented “The contest participants are students, young engineers and constructors who are not afraid to come up with ambitious ideas, new decisions, and they aspire to achieve professional heights in aviation. We motivate the young employees to demonstrate their initiative, grow professionally and succeed in their industry. Not only victory and valuable prizes are important to the students, but also the opportunity to promote their projects and to make it a reality with the help of their tutors and to present their idea to the corporate management. The participation in the competition became a departing point of their career development”.

About 3 thousand people from 12 regions took part in “The Future of Aviation” in 2019. They are young engineers and constructors, active employees of aircraft companies and university students. The main selection criteria are the potential of project implementation in real manufacturing and economic effectiveness. Many projects are devoted to digital transformation and unmanned systems development. 

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