Thematic workshop on aviation technologies
Supervised by Dr. Zhang Fu, Department of Mechanical Engineering
About the workshop

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have gained more and more visibility in public. Besides their potential in industry and research, drone serves an excellent platform for engineering training and teaching, involving a large scope of engineering fields, including mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, and computer science. Moreover, the miniature nature and the low-cost of drones significantly lowers their accessibility, gaining more and more students’ interests. The proposed studio aims to motivate, inspire, and engage students in engineering by incorporating drone projects. The studio will recruit and support student on developing drone to perform certain task, contain tools allowing student to build a drone from scratch. The students will be trained via international drone competitions such as the International Student Unmanned Aerial Systems Competition (SUAS), and various course projects, research projects, and final year projects related to drones.

The benefit to students and Innovation Wing

The thematic workshop will add value to the Innovation Wing in Engineering training and teaching. Drone is a highly interdisciplinary field involving various fields, such as aerospace engineering, control engineering, mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, communication, sensor, machine learning, computer vision, etc. In this studio, students of different backgrounds will be engaged. They have opportunities to gain hands-on experiences in drone development, train their ability to analyze and solve practical engineering problems in actual systems. More specifically, the students will be trained in the following aspects: Problem-solving and hands-on skills This workshop will provide students opportunities to develop drones, such as design, manufacturing, assembly, and testing. Through these activities, the students are expected to gain hands-on experiences on practical robotic systems and solve problems arising from applying a robot to actual applications (e.g., drones for medicine delivery) Project managements are essential components in product developments an acquiring this skill will enhance the student’s competence in their future career. This workshop studio will train student participants’ project management skills via projects (e.g., competitions) with clear deliverables. Teamwork The students will work as groups to tackle big challenges. Through this, the students will learn how to collaborate with others and push the whole project forward. Critical thinking This workshop will feature project-based teaching and learning activities. The students will have the opportunities to solve real-world problems, among which technical problems will be formulated and addressed.


1. Drone prototypes

  • A vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAV prototype;
  • A bi-copter UAV prototype;
  • A quadcopter UAV prototype

All drones are equipped with full avionic systems (e.g., flight controller, airspeed sensors).

2. Robotic sensors

  • An onboard vision sensor equipped on a quadrotor drone.
  • Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors equipped on a quadrotor drone.