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 2022 team consisted of 7 high school students (all of whom are on FRC Team RUSH) and 2 adult coaches.

After the kickoff event on August 27th, the team met nearly 40 times over the course of 98 days, putting in over 700 hours in and out of meetings. 

The team worked to construct the AVR drone from the kit of parts, design 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.

After a delayed, then canceled event in Grandville Michigan, the team decided to travel to Arlington Texas for the championship event. After hastily planning, getting paperwork signed, and materials packed, the team of 9 flew from Michigan down to Texas. After spending a day practicing flying on a real field, the 7 students competed Saturday, December 3rd against 13 other teams. After a long day of flight, presentation, and repair, team 27A placed first overall by 1 point!

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:

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.”

Engineering Notebook

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


Recap Video