Chicago, IL USA April 15, 2017 –
Drone history was made this spring in Chicago. GoDronex, a drone entertainment organization had the world’s first school drone competition at the Museum of Science and Industry – Chicago during National Robotics Week. Students from 6 schools competed in Drone Clan Wars with their micro drones.
Students piloted their drones while wearing goggles that receive video signal from an onboard camera mounted in the drone.
The competition was conceived as a school STEM initiative. During the summer of 2016, Gregg Novosad, founder of GoDroneX was invited to a gathering of teachers who currently had drone initiatives in their schools. “Several schools had drone programs but were unsuccessful, expensive and more importantly dangerous” said Gregg. “I demonstrated an inexpensive, safe drone that was easy to fly. The teachers simply didn’t know of other technology alternatives”.
The next step was to get the word out. During the fall of 2016, GoDroneX attended informal teacher conferences called Ed Camps. “We needed to instill confidence that the technology isn’t hard. We had teachers flying drones in 5 minutes.” Stan Miskiewicz of 312uav, a drone retailer in Chicago, graciously provided the equipment to the schools at cost. For under $800, a school had all the equipment to run a drone program for the entire year.
The last part of the puzzle was to create a drone competition. “The problem with traditional drone racing is courses are either too easy for advanced pilots or too hard for the beginner” states Gregg. “We needed something for all ability levels”.
History was made again as Gregg invented a drone game called Drone Clan Wars. “Kids understand gaming” says Gregg. Drone Clan Wars involves teams, pit stops and strategy. Teams decide their strategy based on ability. Beginners fly easier sections and advanced pilots tackle the more challenging robotic sections. “Teachers loved the critical thinking concepts” said Gregg. “Every team scored points and Varsity teams were challenged as well. Mission accomplished”.
Varsity 1st: New Trier - Winnetka , 2nd Marline Leadership Academy - Chicago.
Junior Varsity: 1st Marine Leadership Academy - Chicago, 2nd Quest Academy - Palatine, 3rd New Trier – Winnetka, 4th Aptakisic – Buffalo Grove.
GoDroneX wants to expand the program to include coding and robotics using existing school equipment. “Many schools STEM programs have VEX Robotics already. Students can program and construct robotic obstacles for the drone course” say Gregg.
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