O.R. Tambo Cumulus Award for the overarching winner: R 20 017.00
- Mr. Mark van Wyk
The winning entry is solving a huge problem in the agriculture industry by introducing an innovative aviation solution. False Codling Moths (FCM) is a huge threat to citrus and related crops and is very costly to combat by manned aircraft.
The proposed solution is a remote-operated drone system that releases sterilised FCM moths over the area to breed with the wild population, effectively cutting down the infected population to less than 5% and dramatically reducing the risk to crops. This exciting invention is currently being patented.
- Second place overall: R15 000 - Mr Duncan Higgs
This entry created an Engine Reliability Test Rig (ERTR) to rigorously test UAV engines. With the advent of UAVs in the market, a large part of costs is due to excessively high engine prices. UAV engines are usually based on model aeroplane engines but while the reliability has been tested in model aeroplanes, it has not been extensively tested or had its reliability confirmed in the UAV arena.
The ERTR can do extensive unsupervised testing and can contact the test conductor through SMS on an hourly basis.
The rig not only provides confidence in the systems but also provides an indication of which components are likely to fail during the UAV's operation and allows the generation of preventative maintenance manuals and schedules, ensuring the reliability of the complete airframe.
- Third place overall: R10 000 - Ms Aarti Panday
This entry saw an aircraft controller incorporating artificial intelligence into the control design to allow for fully autonomous unmanned aircraft missions.
This concept addresses a major gap in the market and could potentially allow for the autonomous refuelling of an unmanned aircraft i.e. aerial refuelling.