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AITE Students Design Drone for Real World Design Challenge

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual high school competition run by a public-private partnership with the goal of sustainably increasing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. Video Credit: rve11

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Students at Stamford's Academy of Information Technology & Engineering have taken the first step toward earning a $50,000 scholarship by competing in the Real World Design Challenge.

Gianluca Canessa, Maurice Fajardo Polo, Marcel Koszkul, Richard Marroquin, Justin Tat, Peter Vibert and Aaron Wood are representing their school in the RWDC, which is an annual competition that provides high school students an opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year student teams are asked to address a challenge that confronts the nation's leading industries.

According to RWDC, students will utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations to demonstrate the value of their solutions. Under the direction of AITE Math Teacher Vin Urbanowski, and with guidance from Pratt & Whitney engineer mentors, the students are charged with designing a “Farmer’s Companion” drone and a small company to sell or operate it as a service.

The AITE students have formed a company called Aires Agricultural Aviation that provides agricultural services using a drone and sensor technologies. The company includes a management structure with various specializations, such as software simulation, power systems, sensors, user training and a business case and marketing plan.

“We’re proud of our students for participating in this competition,” said AITE Principal Tina Rivera. “We always welcome opportunities to work with Connecticut’s technology companies to bring a real-world perspective to our school while helping us nurture the next generation of talent.”

The students are learning to analyze real-world problems in terms of available technologies and government regulations, as well as costs for development, operations, and marketing. Like real-world engineers, the students must justify their decisions through rigorous calculations and rational analysis. The team’s Solution Submission, due Jan. 7, will include detailed engineering specifications, including simulated flight testing of the computer assisted design (CAD) model.

The state winners will be announced on Jan. 23 and will be invited to compete at the national level. Each member of the team that wins the national competition will receive a $50,000 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University scholarship.

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