Kennesaw State engineering students develop UAS that will fly at athletics events

Sting1 Will Make Debut at First Home Football Game KENNESAW, Ga. (May 1, 2015) – A…

Georgia (May 4, 2015)

Sting1 Will Make Debut at First Home Football Game

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 1, 2015) – A partnership between the Department of Athletics and the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University has led to the development of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) shaped like the University's owl mascot that will fly at athletic events and make its debut at the inaugural home football game on Sept. 12 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. 

The UAS, known as "Sting1" in homage to Southern Polytechnic State University, which consolidated with KSU in January 2015, will capture photos and live video that will be transmitted to the video board at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The GPS-enabled UAS will also be used to drop tickets and tokens to the crowd.
"The value of college athletics is to show the world the beauty of what a campus does and what it brings. That could be business, that could be education and in this case, engineering," Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams said. "We want to highlight academic programs at athletics events."
Adeel Khalid, an associate professor in the Systems and Industrial Engineering department, served as advisor to a group of engineering students who were challenged with the task as part of a senior project.
"Students were tasked to design, build and fly an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for the athletics department to use at the sporting events with safety the biggest emphasis throughout the design process," Khalid said. "The opportunity to work on a real- world design project where students not only learned about the new system but also build it knowing that it would be used as part of a regular university event meant that they had to put in the extra effort to ensure design robustness.
"The opportunity for an engineering department to collaborate with the athletics department was tremendous," Khalid said. "Having learned the technology because of this hands-on project, some students might pursue the UAS field as their career path. This project will also inspire and motivate other engineering and prospective engineering students."
The project requirement consisted of designing and building a functioning flying mascot for the Kennesaw State Department of Athletics. Two teams consisting of four engineering students of different disciplines and all minoring in aerospace engineering had four months to design and construct the prototype that would be chosen to fly during athletic events.
Final senior design presentations were held on April 28 at KSU's Marietta campus where the Aerial Robotics team and KSU Swooping Scrappy Mascot team competed for a $6,000 scholarship that will be distributed equally among its four members. The presentations and UAS were judged by members of the Kennesaw State Department of Athletics, Thomas Currin, dean of the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, and working professionals from the fields of engineering aerospace.
The KSU Swooping Scrappy Mascot team was judged the winner and its prototype will make its debut at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in September. The team consisted of Dale Clay, Gabriel Darveau, Divanny Pena and Nicholas Rule.
"For me, aerospace is a passion. I always wanted to be an astronaut and as I've grown and learned more about the sciences and engineering it helped me focus my path," said Pena, who was the project manager. "Just being able to work on this project was a great opportunity. I think what made it more special was the fact that we got to get a real-world applied project. It wasn't just put it in a storage closet and forget it. We actually get to see this fly and we're pioneers in the industry. Hopefully, we'll become the model vehicle from Kennesaw State that other industries and schools will model."
Initial test flights were performed on April 21 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in front of members from the Department of Athletics.
The Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the Department of Athletics have been meeting about this opportunity for more than a year and once it was confirmed that it could happen, the students presented to the Department of Athletics at different check points throughout the project.
In efforts to provide students the opportunity and keep current with technological updates, the Department of Athletics and School of Engineering have planned to introduce the project every other year.
"We thought it would be neat if we could have our students make something that could fly, that could have real-time video, that could take pictures, that could drop things into the crowd, and then morph it together, not necessarily to look like an owl, but to keep the heritage of the Marietta campus and that of Southern Poly alive," Williams added. "The thought was, how do you start tradition knowing that some people never get that chance. Football is the piece in its consolidation for sports that hasn't started yet."

To keep up with the latest Kennesaw State athletics news follow the Owls on Twitter @KSUOwlNation or by liking Kennesaw State University on Facebook.


- Al Barba


Click here to watch the video of the making of a UAS


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit