When you hear the students describe the project, all you can think about is the hours spent. All they can think about is facing and meeting a challenge.
“Total hours?” Rithik Kurup ’23 asks. “Could it be 100?” he wonders as he turns to some of his teammates. “It could be.”
The final Microsoft Teams meeting as the project was due went from about 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It was well worth it.
Once again, the Xavier Engineering Team is headed to the Real World Design Challenge national competition. Xavier finished second in the state competition and was invited as a wild card entry for the national event that will be held virtually on April 23.
The team members besides Kurup are Henry Stearns ’23, Jiahao Chen ’23, Darren Sengphachanh ’24, Patrick Clements-Dolan ’25, Oliver Snow ’25, and Joshua Raj ’25.
They were tasked with building a package delivery drone. They built a hybrid model with wings and rotors.
“The challenge stated that we would have a runway, so we opted for the wings to take off with greater speed to get to the delivery location quicker, and the rotors would slow it down so we could have the vertical landing,” Stearns said. “It was a team effort to put the parts together.”
There are three main sections to the team.
“Design is one,” Kurup said. “There’s also command, control and communications, which deals with things like sensors, on-board components, and communicating with the drone, things like that. And then the business part, because you want to make as much money as possible.”
After all, the design challenge is called “Real World.”
“The business part of it focused on flights per day and how we could operate efficiently with our workers and get the most packages delivered per day, so we could get the most profits, paying off what was spent on the drones, paying for the warehouse space,” Stearns said.
No doubt some of these Xavier students will be working in the real world someday figuring out solutions in various engineering fields. For now they are having fun.
“I joined this year, after seeing it at the SAC Fair,” Snow said. “I found out I liked design the most and ended up working with Rithik on that, and it was really fun.”
Clements-Dolan is another newcomer as a freshman.
“Being on the team is very inclusive since it is small, and there is a lot you can do,” Clements-Dolan said.
Kurup said Clements-Dolan did much of the research, “and we used that to decide how the drone would be designed.”
Now it’s on to an even bigger competition.