Aerial Robotics Logo

Purdue Aerial Robotics Team

About Purdue Aerial Robotics

The Purdue Aerial Robotics Team was founded back in 1996 as a committee within the Purdue IEEE Student Organization. The Purdue Aerial Robotics Team mission is to create an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to compete in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Student Unmanned Air Systems (AUVSI SUAS) Competition.

PART consists of both engineering and non-engineering focuses. The engineering goals are to create mathematical and physical models, construct prototypes, and develop a final, mission-ready system. The non-engineering goals are to develop relationships with companies, encourage a collaborative work environment, communicate effectively with team members, and provide learning opportunities for students of any discipline and experience level. Achieving these goals will help us develop a UAS that meets the rigorous standards demanded by the competition, in order to succeed as a team.

PART prides itself on its student leadership, perseverance, and desire to excel in all frontiers. Furthermore, team members are constantly striving to learn the technical skills necessary to bring the design to fruition, including 3D-modeling in SolidWorks, designing power delivery systems, and programming in Python and MATLAB.

2018 Plane

2018 Plane

Our Subteams

2020 Team Photo

2020 Team Photo


The AeroMechanical sub-team of Purdue Aerial Robotics Team designs, builds, and tests a safe, mission effective platform for the AUVSI SUAS competition. The sub-team's goal is to provide team members a worthwhile, modern experience on aircraft design. The team has a strong emphasis on system design and manufacturing practicality. A rigorous engineering approach is applied from structures and propulsion, with training to provide any necessary skills to students of all skill and experience levels. FEA and CFD techniques are utilized along with traditional analysis and testing. Our designs are built around expertise in composites manufacturing, supported by precise 3D printed molds, to provide an efficient airframe while mirroring the ongoing changes in the industry.

2020 Fall Test Flight

2020 Fall Test Flight


The electrical sub-team of PART is responsible for designing and implementing the plane's embedded hardware and software systems. The goals of this sub-team are to develop a safe, efficient system capable of navigating and collecting data about its surrounding environment with minimal human intervention. Much of the work done by the electrical sub-team involves both hardware and software and falls into the areas of communications, flight controls, and autonomy.

Current projects include the development of custom flight control software, radio communications between the aircraft and its ground station, telemetry sensor data collection, creation of autonomous flight algorithms, and mission simulation design to rapidly validate and improve existing navigation algorithms. To accomplish these tasks, the plane is outfitted with various sensors including an IMU, airspeed sensor, and GPS, among others. It's software is written in C and Python.

The electrical sub-team strives to design and implement robust, professional solutions on board the UAV. We constantly research and improve to allow the UAV to perform to its maximum levels each year.

2018 Fall Test Flight

Ground Control Station Setup


The software sub-team of PART is responsible for designing and implementing the UAV's computer vision system. The goal of this sub-team is to develop a robust and accurate system which can identify multiple characteristics of various objects on the ground with minimal human intervention.

The software sub-team works with image processing libraries, such as openCV, to filter incoming pictures and extract necessary data. More recently, the team has also incorporated machine learning libraries to increase detection accuracy. The team is tasked with identifying targets from the air and numerous characteristics about these targets including shape, color, alphanumeric values, and location. Additionally, there exists a communication system between the aircraft camera and the ground station. The team runs some of its algorithms on board the aircraft, but the majority are processed on the ground via the communication system.

Our team is committed to pushing the limits of current technology and computer science. So, the team's current, year-long goal is to create a computer vision system as well as an image database to identify these targets with high amounts of accuracy. Our work this year is starting from the ground up and will set the team up for success for many years to come.