‘We are definitely not stopping’

| Michaela Nesvarova

Aerobotic Tech Team Twente (A3T) is attempting to become an official UT student team focused on drones. They want their drones to fight in international competitions and they offer a three year training program, to prepare their members to become ‘future leaders in the drone industry’.

UT students Dieudonnée Muhoza (Advanced Technology) and Gabriel Damian (Electrical Engineering), who are both passionate about drone technology, founded A3T last year. Even though the team already participated in the MAAXX competition and in the drone battle DroneClash in February, it’s not yet an officially recognized student team. They hope to be soon, though. They have talked to the Marketing & Communication Director Atilla Kerpisci and they are taking the necessary steps to make it happen.

Training program

‘To become the sixth official UT student team, we’ve chosen a different approach than the other teams,’ says Gabriel Damian. ‘Instead of having to transition to a new team every year, we have developed a three year training program. Because our ultimate goal isn’t to win competitions, but to prepare our members to become future leaders in the drone industry.’

the official UT student teams

  • Solar Team Twente
  • Green Team Twente
  • Solar Boat Twente
  • RoboTeam Twente
  • Electric Superbike Twente

A3T will present its training program at the UT Challenge. ‘The program is our “product” that could also be used by other teams,’ clarifies Muhoza. ‘It is based on three level membership. Anyone can join as a part-time ‘novice’ for up to a year, to see if they enjoy working on the team. If they do, they can move on to being a full-time ‘mentor’ for one year, after which they can stay on as a ‘parent’ that supports the younger members. This eliminates the transition problems that the other teams experience every year.’

Drone battles, races and missions

A3T is not only creating training concepts. An important part of their work is building several drones that will compete in international contests. They are preparing for the second edition of DroneClash, taking place in November in Amsterdam. Next year they aim to participate in the autonomous drone racing challenge MAAXX and in the UAS Challenge, where teams are required to design and build a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) and demonstrate its operation in a humanitarian aid mission. A3T needs to design and build completely different drones for each of the competitions.

Will they do all this even if they don’t become an official UT team? ‘Yes, we are definitely not stopping,’ answers Damian. ‘We will continue even if the university doesn’t support us. We want to help people be real drone experts, because we believe there won’t be one field that won’t be affected by drones in the future.’