IARC 2015 was held at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. The presentations were on Wednesday, August 12, followed by flights the following day and the banquet Friday night. We arrived late Monday night, just in time to make some plans for practicing our presentation the next day before going to bed.
Tuesday, after a decent breakfast, we got to work on preparing for and changes. Most of the afternoon was spent leisurely working giving the presentation and making some last minute corrections on the presentation, and after going out for supper, we decided to call it a night.
Wednesday morning we all got up bright and early. Check-in was 0800 - 0830, so the whole team was up and ready to leave the hotel by 0745. The hotel we booked is only a couple of blocks away from Georgia Tech, so 15 minutes is more than enough time to walk down there. Last year, the team got lost on the way and was a tad bit late; thankfully, that didn’t happen again this year. We presented first; it went well. Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal presented their vehicle next. Their vehicle gained cameras and a colorful foam propeller guard this year, which was cool to see. Third to present was Kennesaw State University, who merged with Southern Polytechnic State University this past year. They unveiled a massive vehicle, which was well put together and modular. Last to present was Embry Riddle. Their vehicle looked to be the same as last year (as was ours, with a couple minor changes).
Thursday morning we were due to be ready to fly by 0900. We arrived a couple minutes in advance, but luckily could take plenty of time to set up since we were slotted to fly fourth. Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal did a fair amount of manual flying, and also demonstrated the ability to track the ground robots. We unfortunately did not have time to fully integrate all of the separate pieces we have and demonstrate any abilities like that, but our vehicle managed to takeoff fully autonomously and hover until drifting out of the arena and being remotely killed. Kennesaw State University performed manual takeoffs, and upon going into autonomous mode demonstrated the same ability as our vehicle; hovering until drifting out of the arena. Embry Riddle did not manage to get in the air. After helping to take down the course, our team packed up, headed to the hotel for a bit, and then carried on a great tradition: eating a late lunch at Busy Bee after the competition. Busy Bee has absolutely fantastic food, and even though we had to wait for a little over half an hour to get in, it was well worth it. After this fantastic lunch, we headed back to the hotel and napped the rest of the day.
Friday was a relaxing day, concluding with the banquet. The awards ceremony takes place during the banquet, and we took home the award for best technical paper. After the banquet most of us headed straight to bed in order to be rested for a full day of travel the next day.
This past year has brought a lot of improvement in many areas, but we still have a ways to go. The code has seen a lot of work, from various high-level algorithms and their implementations all the way to low-level communications. The airframe has received a massive improvement in adding shocks, allowing hard landings. The management of the team has improved drastically, now that we are using tools like Redmine, Gitolite, and Subversion. All in all, not a bad year, and we are definitely ready for this next year.