Students design drone for competition

By Ryan Cornell

Students in Warren County are designing a drone that would be able to fly into a cornfield in Iowa and detect the European Corn Borer, a pest that afflicts farmers throughout the U.S.

The project is through the Real World Design Challenge, an annual competition that lets students design and test a prototype using software. Last year, a Warren County team led by teacher Tom Breed designed a fixed-wing aircraft that could find a missing Boy Scout at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

Breed is instructing the team again this year, which is composed of five Warren County High School students. The team meets about three times a week in the evenings.

Although the students won’t actually be able to test their drone model outside of the computer screen, he said they’re working on building a 3D model and analyzing the costs.

He said the competition will grade students on the value of their drone systems and how much money farmers would save by using it.

“I just think it’s amazing that folks this young are doing this high level engineering,” he said. “A lot of this is what I did in my 40s.”

He said teams have placed second in the state for the past two years and will submit their design by March 31.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com