Hello friends of MAAV! We are excited about this year’s competition and look forward to sharing our experiences with you. For those who don’t know, MAAV is the Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicle team. For three years we have been designing and fabricating autonomous aerial vehicles to compete in the International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC). If you didn’t know that then you probably also did not know that we will be leaving this Saturday to compete in the IARC.

The IARC is an eighteen-year old competition that is on its sixth challegne. Since 1995 IARC has been designing challenges that are impossible to meet with what is available at the time of release. The goal is to have teams develop the necessary technologies to meet the challenge.

Currently, the mission boils down to a few key components: competitors must design a vehicle that can autonomously enter an unknown compound, search the building, read posted signs on the wall, avoid cameras and obstacles, and detect a flashdrive. Then the vehicle must retrieve the flashdrive, deploy a decoy, and exit safely. For more information on the competition please visit http://iarc.angel-strike.com. At last year’s competition we were the first team to successfully enter the building, map the interior, and exit completely autonomously. We have had a year to develop the software and hardware that we will need to identify and retrieve a flash drive, and are eager to see how things will play out.

Until the day of our competition flights (August 7th), we will be working double-time to polish things up and get everything in working order. We intend to be working tirelessly until then, even in North Dakota (the site of the competition), and will be updating with pictures and news the entire time.

Also, please allow us to take a moment to thank all of you for your love and support. To our friends and family, thank you for your interest in what we do, and for understanding why we have essentially dropped off the face of the Earth for the past summer. We also have to acknowledge our tremendous sponsors, your funding has allowed us to achieve greatness, and we look forward to maintaining our relationships with you over the coming years. And a final thanks goes to our academic advisors, your insights have proved invaluable.

You all will be hearing from us again soon!