Thursday, May 15, 2014

Look What’s Flying in NYP!

It isn’t easy handling a flying machine and that is what many students found out when they tried their hand at flying a semi-autonomous flying craft at the Flying Machines Roadshow at the NYP Atrium on Wednesday, 14 May 2014, from 10am to 4pm. What is semi-autonomous? Well, it simply means that the flying craft is partially controlled by humans.

There were two types of flying crafts on display and demonstration at the roadshow - two fully autonomous flying crafts and three semi-autonomous flying crafts. The former refers to machines that can fly and navigate without human control while the latter refers to machines that need some control. Semi-autonomous machines are also capable of sending data back to the pilot automatically.

The objective of the roadshow, organised by the School of Engineering (SEG), was to showcase the capabilities of the autonomous flying machines and educate students about flying machine technologies. SEG students who won the recent Singapore Amazing Flying Machines Competition 2014 were also on hand to demonstrate how the flying machines work.

There were demonstrations held every hour, and we also witnessed how an autonomous flying machine could navigate an obstacle course and perform various precision tasks.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in flying because every model performs differently. One key skill in flying is learning to anticipate. If you can predict its course, you can avoid collusion,” said NYP Diploma in Aerospace Systems & Management graduand Amos Lim.

Amos, who was demonstrating at the roadshow, used to spend five hours every weekday training with the machines. Although he has plenty of experience flying, he feels that a lot of practice is needed to manoeuvre the crafts well.

“The response of every craft to every pilot is different. Some crafts can respond better and some don’t,” he said.
Amos holding a flying craft remote control

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