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UT Arlington Team Scores High in International UAV Competition

July 11, 2006

A team of mechanical and aerospace engineering students from the University of Texas at Arlington took third place overall at the Fourth Annual AUVSI Student Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Competition held at the Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center in Maryland. The competition was sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the U. S. Navy Program Executive Office for Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation.

In addition to taking third place (with a $3150 prize), the team also took third place in mission performance and fifth place in oral presentation. Teams from the University of Manitoba and Brigham Young University won first and second place. The UT Arlington team finished ahead of teams from MIT, Cornell, the University of California at San Diego, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University.

Students on the team were junior Venko Damianov (team lead & autopilot operator/trainer), degreed undergraduate Eric Pianori (pilot/trainer), junior Amen Omoragbon (autopilot operator/trainee), senior Rolando Castilleja (imaging operator), senior James Gilligan (support) and senior Ryan Slater (support).

“Our entry was a success because the team focused on meeting the requirements of the competition, spent a lot of time testing the system and its subsystems and components, and eventually came to work together in a well-integrated process,” said Computer Science & Engineering Senior Lecturer Dr. Arthur Reyes, one of the team’s faculty advisors. Other advisors included Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering Associate Professor Brian Huff, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professors Atilla Dogan and Kamesh Subbarao, and Computer Science & Engineering Faculty Associate Dr. G. Michael Youngblood.

The students and faculty advisors are members of the Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory ( and were supported by Bell Helicopter Textron, the College of Engineering, MicroPilot Inc., Dennis Lee Johnston, Multiplex Inc., Jay Francis, and the Fort Worth Thunderbirds Radio Control Club.