Bell AVR Drone Team

The Bell Advanced Vertical Robotics Competition isn't our normal "ground-robotics" that Team RUSH has become accustomed to with FRC.

"Students use hands-on, industry-standard tools to design, build, and compete against teams from around the US with the most advanced aerial robotics technology available today. Participation in the Bell Vertical Robotics Competition prepares students for tomorrow’s STEM workforce needs on the ground and in the sky."

Our 2023 team consisted of 9 high school students (all of whom are on FRC Team RUSH) and 3 adult coaches.

After the kickoff event on August 22nd, the team met over 30 times, putting in over 100 hours in and out of meetings. 

The team worked to deconstruct our 2022 drone, design new innovative and creative solutions for the game, manufacture, install, test, and repeat designs and strategies, customize land vehicles to better suit the needs of the game, and organize their findings in the Engineering Notebook.

At their qualifier event at the Grandville Robotics Center on November 11th, the team competed against several other teams in four qualification matches and a presentation. In the end, they performed amazingly well, earning 1st place and the Best Overall Design Award.

Since they won the event, this qualified the team for the 2023 Championship event. The team decided to travel to Hurst Texas for the championship event. After hastily planning, getting paperwork signed, and materials packed, the team of 12 flew from Michigan down to Texas. After spending a morning building the drone, and the afternoon practicing flying on the field, the 9 students competed on Saturday, December 2nd against 13 other teams. After a long day of flight, presentation, and repair, team 27A placed second overall with 520 points!

This was a great competition that offered a unique perspective compared to the normal "ground-robotics" we've been used to for the past 27 years.

Here are some comments from students and mentors on the team in 2022:

Student Daniel Bradstreet said, “It was a lot of fun and a great engineering challenge for our team. The opportunity we have been given from Bell and the Robotics Education Foundation has led us to gain valuable experience, and life skills we will be able to use in the future”.

Another student, Luke Jeung stated, “While we failed a lot this season, we learned to fail faster so that when it came time to perform, we could play our very best. I’m proud of this whole team's effort, tenacity and resilience, as that’s the reason we were able to play so well.”

“The weekend was a complete surprise to me. “, said Kyle Hughes, team leader. “The kids have been meeting for the past 4 months with Mentor Andrew Luchenbach (a CHS grad of 2015), to work on solving the challenge. Bell posed the problem with fire fighting, so they had to fly the 2 drones, the Land Rover and 3 Spheros to extinguish the fire. All 7 students were controlling some part of the game. We decided to do this to ‘learn’. Never did I think we would win!”

“Michigan was supposed to have 2 events that we were to ‘qualify’ to advance to the Championships. They had trouble both weekends with the field electronics, so we got a ‘bid’ to go to the Championship and participate. Scrambling to get all the arrangements in time was a challenge. We are still seeking sponsors to cover the trip.”

2023 Engineering Notebook

The team's progress, notes, and reflections are recorded in more depth in the Engineering Notebook here!

2023_EN_27A (11-30).pdf

2023 Recap Video