The UT and Clear Flight Solutions winners of the “anti-drone competition” DroneClash

Category: General news
Posted 7 months ago, last edited Thursday, February 22, 2018 (7 months ago)

The University of Twente and UT start-up Clear Flight Solutions won the first edition of DroneClash which was organized by the National Police, amongst others. The teams had to come up with anti-drone measures and take out the opponent’s drones in a battle. The team in Twente excelled and went home with the main prize of €30,000. 

The Twente team built three manoeuvrable robust drones made of reinforced carbon fibre for the contest. Two of these drones, the so-called fighters (the attacking drones) quickly flew towards the opponent and dealt out some striking blows. The Queen (the other drone) had to stay in the air no matter what. “Fortunately, the Queen turned out to be manoeuvrable enough to avoid the opponents’ fighters.”, says UT-researcher Geert Folkertsma. “We owe our victory to the drone’s excellent design in combination with the skills of our team. Niels Meerdink, Egbert van der Laan en Tjerk Verbraaken proved to be the best group of pilots in the competition and won this prize."   

Geert Folkertsma, who works for the Robotics and Mechatronics Department and Clear Flight Solutions, the company known for the robot birds that keep airports bird-free: "I knew that the UT and CFS were the perfect combination for this competition. The university's technology and facilities together with the skills of the designers and pilots of CFS were the perfect mix to trump the competition. Clear Flight Solutions is actually looking for more pilots for the Robird®, so hopefully the success of DroneClash will lead to more pilots being interested.”

Anti-drone measures

The Robotics and Mechatronics Department (RaM) and Clear Flight Solutions (CFS) supported the team with time, resources and materials, since research into anti-drone measures is important to both parties. Both RaM and CFS develop applications with drones, for example for inspection and maintenance purposes. CFS flies its robotic birds at airports to keep other birds away from the runways. This is always carried out in close contact with air traffic control and following strict procedures in order to ensure safety. At the same time, there are people who are illegally flying over the city and near airports with drones that are available on the market and are thereby compromising safety. There is little that can currently be done about this; it is hard to enforce. This is one of the reasons why the police was the main sponsor of the DroneClash event.

Research

The Robotics and Mechatronics Department and the National Police are already working together on the research into the use of robotics for law enforcement and safety purposes. Current research focuses on the broad use of all kinds of robots by developing a standard interface and communication protocol.