Next Level, a high school team from South Burlington, Vt., has won a national competition for its design of an unmanned aerial system that improves precision agriculture through early detection of European corn bearer infestations in large cornfields.
In the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) – run by a public-private partnership with the goal of increasing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce – the Next Level team from South Burlington High School competed among over 3,000 students across the U.S. at the event’s sixth year of competition on Nov. 15.
The team’s UAS allows targeted application of pesticides in order to minimize the impact of broad-based pesticide application strategies in fields around 46,000 acres in size, according to PTC, a founding member of the RWDC, which was developed by engineers from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
The teams’ solutions were evaluated by a team of judges from government, academia and the industry, including Honeywell, the Federal Aviation Administration and others. According to a local report, each student on the winning team earned a $50,000 scholarship to Embry-Riddle.