The team will be competing at the SAE Aero Design East Competition in March 2024. In collaboration with senior design, we will be aiming to compete in all three aircraft classes. More details are below:


The regular-class aircraft will be designed and built by the mechanical team during the fall semester. The aircraft has a limiting wingspan of 216 inches to achieve maximum lift. The design of the aircraft focuses on modularity, allowing us to disassemble the large aircraft for easy storage.


The advanced-class aircraft will be a deviation from the regular-class design that has a wingspan of 120 inches. Designed to carry water for firefighting as well as a delivery aircraft. The mechanical team will work to construct the aircraft at the beginning of the spring semester. The software team will design and program the autonomous delivery aircraft in parallel.


The micro-class aircraft will be constructed by a separate team of seniors as part of Penn Engineering’s annual Senior Design program. The seniors will be challenged with constructing an aircraft with a short wingspan of 36 inches that has a short takeoff ability of 8 feet or less. This inaugural partnership allows seniors to take advantage of existing resources and experience in the club while being experts the club can rely on for more advanced conceptual/design inquiries.


Collegiate teams worldwide are invited to demonstrate their coding and algorithmic expertise by designing fully autonomous drones that can track an autonomous vehicle through a complex obstacle course. The competition consists of two key phases: a coding round, where teams fine-tune their algorithms using the Gazebo simulator, and an in-person challenge at Purdue University, where PX4 drones execute these algorithms in a real-world obstacle environment. This challenge serves as a platform to push the boundaries of collegiate innovation in autonomous systems.