Engineering Seniors Build, Test Severe Weather Observation System

UMKC School of Computing and Engineering Partners with University of Southampton, United Kingdom, on tornado-tracking robots

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom are collaborating on development of a remote-controlled ground- and air-based drone system to monitor tornadoes and other severe weather events.

Senior mechanical engineering students from the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering have collaborated with their peers in the UK to design, build and test a system that combines a remotely operated ground vehicle with an unmanned air system.

The Southampton students, also senior engineering majors, are developing an aircraft to deliver sensors into close proximity of a tornado or heavy hail storm, in order to model and understand the behavior of tornados and other atmospheric events. UMKC students are working to develop a remote-controlled vehicle that will launch Southampton’s aircraft in adverse weather conditions.

Southampton and UMKC students will meet in Kansas City for the first time April 25 – May 1 to test and launch their collective system. Media are invited to attend a live demonstration of the system from 9 – 10 a.m., April 28, Fleming Park, 22807 Woods Chapel Rd, Blue Springs, MO 64015.

UMKC students working on the project are Kristen Bilgere, Joseph Haller, Purav Patel and Tyler O’Neill. Travis Fields, assistant professor of civil and mechanical engineering, serves the faculty advisor of the UMKC design team. Dr. András Sóbester, associate professor in aircraft engineering in the faculty of engineering and environment, serves as the advisor for the University of Southampton team.

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