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Northrop Grumman launches third annual Innovation Challenge Flying Competition for Emirati Students

Posted 24 April 2013 · Add Comment

Northrop Grumman Corporation has announced the start of the 2013 Innovation Challenge Flying Competition.

Northrop Grumman is the industry sponsor of this competition, which is held in coordination with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (ADASI) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

The flying competition, which was open to the public as spectators, took place at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, April 23-24.
The event featured unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed and built by United Arab Emirates (UAE) student teams who were mentored by Northrop Grumman engineers.

"Innovation Challenge is a significant opportunity for students to apply mathematics and science knowledge to a real-world engineering project," said Gene Fraser, corporate vice president, programmes, quality and engineering at Northrop Grumman. "Through this competition, Northrop Grumman helps contribute to Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030. The programme allows students to combine their academic knowledge with practical experience as they prepare to enter a competitive work environment. We are proud to sponsor this event and look forward to an exciting competition."

Tayeb Kamali, vice chancellor, HCT, said that Innovation Challenge was an important milestone for HCT students: "We are very pleased to see our students, both male and female, utilise the knowledge gained during their classes in such a hands-on manner during this event.

"We are again grateful to Northrop Grumman for committing such wonderful support, which provides our students with enriching experiences in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

In 2010, Northrop Grumman signed a memorandum of understanding with HCT to develop initiatives in the UAE related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Innovation Challenge is a result of this partnership, and ADASI and AUVSI formalised their participation in the event by signing memorandums of understanding in February during the International Defence Exhibition and Conference.

During the 2013 Innovation Challenge, 11 teams of HCT students, who have been mentored by Northrop Grumman engineers, gained hands-on experience by designing, building and testing an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Each team will be evaluated based on an oral presentation about the design and build of its UAV, in addition to the aircraft's flight, which must meet specific criteria. The student team that finishes first in the competition will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual AUVSI convention in Washington, D.C., in August, courtesy of Northrop Grumman. The AUVSI convention will provide the winning team with the opportunity to present its aircraft to an international audience of industry representatives, government officials and educators.

ADASI will provide the second-place team with a trip to one of the company's subsidiaries. The organization also intends to provide academic scholarships to selected students.

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