Blowin’ in the wind

Testing the C-PRIZE UAVs is a test in itself, writes Callaghan Innovation aviation sector manager Chris Thomson.

Eight weeks until testing begins for the six Callaghan Innovation C-PRIZE finalists!

On the 9th of November the teams will unveil their prototypes and fly, what they hope becomes the next generation of UAV technology for the screen industry.

Out of 80 entries the finalists showed vision and know-how to turn their design concepts into a commercial success. The pressure is now on the walk-the-talk and build prototype UAVs that deliver significant performance improvements from those currently on the market.

One of the three C-PRIZE challenges will test how well the UAVs can hold their position in strong gusty winds. The team at Callaghan Innovation have been preparing the test setup, which involves a large fan used to produce windy conditions on a movie set, and a highly accurate motion-capture system.

Our biggest fan: the artificial wind set up to test C-PRIZE finalists in the Marangai challenge.

Our biggest fan: the artificial wind set up to test C-PRIZE finalists in the Marangai challenge.

The team have taken wind speed measurements and will be simulating a windy day at Wellington Airport. The theory goes; if they can hover there, they can hover anywhere!

Chris Thomson mulls the testing set-up

Chris Thomson mulls the testing set-up

Tests are also being prepared to measure the noise produced by the UAVs, and their ability to track moving objects (also a good excuse to play with remote-controlled cars!).

Following the tests each team will present a commercialisation pitch to the judges on the 19th November. The grand prize winner, will be awarded $50,000 and tickets to the 2016 NAB trade show at a gala awards event on the 1st December.

Props are turning. Anticipation is building. Innovation is preparing to fly!

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About Callaghan Innovation

Business. Technology. Success.
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