NTU-built drones to fly at Singapore Airshow

SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will showcase its expertise in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology at the upcoming Singapore Airshow, which will be held from Feb 11 to 16.

Visitors can look forward to an exciting aerial display by 12 UAVs, complete with strobe lights and music. The quad-rotor drones, programmed by NTU scientists and researchers, will fly in formation and execute complex aerial manoeuvres.

In addition, visitors to NTU's booth at the Airshow will be able to get a hands-on experience of the UAVs through three interactive games named 'Commando', 'Hot Pursuit' and 'Quad-ligraphy'.

All UAVs featured at the Singapore Airshow are custom-made and programmed from scratch in Singapore.

Each UAV is made up of a carbon fibre frame, with four rotors that are six to eight inches long. On it are radio control modules, sensors and electronics, and a battery pack.

For the UAVs to fly in certain formations, they have to be programmed with specific flying instructions for each of the 12 drones.

Prof Xie, from NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, shares that a big challenge lies in ensuring that the UAVs do not collide while flying in close proximity to one another.

The exact positioning of each drone is determined by more than 30 video cameras mounted over the indoor stage, which is 10 metres long and wide, and 5 metres high.

The autonomous UAV aerial display will also include a few key manoeuvres performed by the Republic of Singapore Air Force aerobatic team the Black Knights, as well as manoeuvres unique to rotatory aircrafts.

The UAV research project, which took took three years to develop, is led by a team of 20 researchers from NTU, National University of Singapore and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and supported by the Ministry of Defence.