Project: Kestrel

Project: Kestrel is a student team composed of passionate engineers from the University of Sheffield - a top 100 world university. We were founded by humanitarian organisation Project: Blueprint in September 2021 and now are seeing incredible progress. Kestrel is led by an ambitious student team who take care of designing and manufacturing our vertical take-off and landing and fixed-wing drones - our mission is to provide an additional level of infrastructure to the medical delivery supply chain in East Africa. We have 4 core values as a project to see us deliver our mission responsibly, whilst technically developing our team in a fun, inclusive environment: sustainability, technical upskilling, student satisfaction and innovation. At Kestrel we choose to prioritise our planet in the field of engineering, focusing on environmentally responsible and more globally sustainable solutions. This year, we aims to manufacture an autonomous fixed-wing drone to compete in the 2024 iMechE UAS Challenge. Through excellent planning, management, effective communication, and technical upskilling, we provide an invaluable experience for all project members, simulating engineering teamwork in the industry in a safe, sustainable way.

The project is made up of an Operations team and two technical teams, in Structure and Avionics - with each technical team being split up into 3 subteams. Structures is made up of Analysis (ANA), Wing and Tail (WT), and Nose, Fuselage and Empennage (NFE), while Avionics is made up of Image Recognition (IR), Power, Propulsion and Actuation (PPA), and Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC).

A sponsorship from PCBWay would aid us greatly in purchasing avionics parts for Image Recognition and Power, Propulsion and Actuation, incorporating microcontrollers and other hardware onto the drone. Our current system incorporates a Raspberry Pi for Image Recognition of Aruco markers, which are recognised through an onboard camera, and help the drone to land.

Image 1: A render of PK2, the second iteration of Project: Kestrel's drone, which is in the process of being manufactured

Image 2: The Wing and Tail team manufacturing a wing section for the PK2 drone

Image 3: The Power Distribution board being soldered by the Avionics team to support integration into the fixed wing drone

Image 4: A picture of the full team on completion of the PK Mini training programme, which upskilled new members.

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Feb 12,2024
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