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Austin Peay State University Drone Club begins inaugural racing season on Friday

 

Austin Peay State University

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – We’re going to level with you. The Austin Peay State University Drone Club’s racing drones are too fast for we at Public Relations to catch on video. When they really get rocking, they travel around 100 mph, and we can’t keep up with them.

They’re just a blur.

The Drone Club at APSU has three drone racers who will vie this week to qualify for the national championship next spring. The drones can travel up to 100 mph. Bigger racing drones can go faster. (APSU student Denzil Wyatt)

The Drone Club at APSU has three drone racers who will vie this week to qualify for the national championship next spring. The drones can travel up to 100 mph. Bigger racing drones can go faster. (APSU student Denzil Wyatt)

And they’re too light to carry a GoPro. The drone in the video below isn’t a racing drone. It’s a fast one, sure, but it’s traveling 40 mph, maybe 50.

But you can SEE the drones for yourself, no cameras needed, at 2:30pm, Friday, September 28th, 2018 when the Drone Club at Austin Peay State University launches its inaugural season racing in the Collegiate Drone Racing Association (CDRA).

Club members will set up an official CDRA track at the Dunn Bowl and race their drones around flags and through gates in an effort to record fast-enough times to qualify for the national championship in the spring at Purdue University.

The Rules of the Course

This is the layout of the first month’s course. The Drone Club at APSU will fly on this course 2:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, at the Dunn Center lawn. The drone racing season continues through the spring. (APSU student Denzil Wyatt)

This is the layout of the first month’s course. The Drone Club at APSU will fly on this course 2:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, at the Dunn Center lawn. The drone racing season continues through the spring. (APSU student Denzil Wyatt)

All schools race using the same course layout, posted to the CDRA website. The course changes each month. Racing drones can be no longer than 305 mm with 6-inch propellers. The gates can be no larger than 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide and the flags 5 feet tall.

The teams can have as many members as they like but must have at least two pilots.

The Drone Club at APSU has three qualified pilots on the team:

  • Michael Hunter, president, junior, graphic design.
  • Antoine Rawlins, vice president, senior, computer science.
  • Harrison Welch, treasurer, senior, computer science.

Individual pilots submit their three fastest consecutive lap times for the day.

Onboard video is required for all submitted times. The times are converted into points, and the team scores are the three highest individual scores.

At the end of each month, the top ranked schools qualify for the national championship in the spring. At the championships, the drones race four at a time.

Here’s a good video from the University of Alabama about the 2018 National Championship:

Joining the Club

The Drone Club brings its drones out frequently on campus, showing off members’ skills but also in an effort to attract new recruits.

Michael Hunter’s racing drone flies through one of the gates of the course. (APSU student Denzil Wyatt)

Michael Hunter’s racing drone flies through one of the gates of the course. (APSU student Denzil Wyatt)

“I think people are worried about the price point, but they don’t realize this first year is free,” Hunter said. “We’re going to request some funds, but it’s only if you want to. We need more batteries and gates.”

The club will provide the materials for you to build a drone.

The club has kits to get started and a 3D printer to build parts and accessories.

After that, the cost might not be as high as you’d think. Hunter’s higher-end drone cost him $300, but you can build quality drones for around $100.00, he said.

Want to Learn More

To learn about the league the Drone Club at Austin Peay State University will be competing in, visit www.collegiatedroneracingassociation.com

The website also has some really cool videos.

To learn about the Drone Club at APSU, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DroneClubAtAPSU


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