Asmaa Alyammahi, a senior BSc Aerospace Engineering student, has won 2nd place in the EDGE Summer Challenge organized by the advanced technology company EDGE Group. The Challenge is a competition for the next generation of innovators to use their creativity to design drones that will advance key industries in the UAE.
Asmaa’s winning project was a quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) design that is capable of taking over the risky job of a skyscraper window cleaner. Asmaa says that this solution will advance many sectors; anyone with a building can benefit from such a service and make it 100 times safer, more efficient and faster, and at a low cost. “Introducing drone technology to our day-to-day labor work will not only create a faster, more reliable solution but will also open new job opportunities in the market,” she added.
The idea for the project came about when Asmaa noticed window cleaners hanging on ropes on skyscrapers. The UAE, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is constantly developing and building infrastructures. On a daily basis, the number of buildings in each city is increasing rapidly. During the day, window cleaners’ lives are at risk as they hang on ropes in extremely hot weather. These workers also spend days to complete the job. Asmaa wanted to create a solution that will ensure the safety of the workers, and at the same time use modern technology to make the process easier and faster. She designed a UAV quadcopter equipped with an advanced cleaning mechanism that can wash the windows with the help of an autopilot feature.
The project can further be developed for different industries such as sanitation jobs, as well as address insect infestation or put out wildfires. This could lead to different opportunities where UAV advanced technology can solve everyday problems while at the same time ensure the safety of workers.
Asmaa noted that the purpose of the project is to showcase how modern UAV technology can help ease the process for many entities in the civil sector by replacing high-risk jobs. In her report, she first presents the design alongside the main elements of the UAV with an explanation of each of the features; she then highlights the industries where UAVs can be used, its requirements, possibilities, and competitions.
“It feels really good to have my idea appreciated by one of the top companies in the UAE. The sense of validation is overwhelming and the competing teams have been very professional with the process,” Asmaa said.
“I believe that undergoing my aerospace engineering degree at Khalifa University has helped me immensely in applying the knowledge I have into real-life projects and researches such as this competition. I am proud to happily apply what I have been learning and practicing in the past few years,” she added.
“I do hope I can continue the project and bring the design to life in the near future.”
Dr. Rashid K. Abu Al-Rub, Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering & Director of KU’s ADAM Center commented on Asmaa’s achievement: “The Aerospace Engineering Department congratulates Asmaa on this well-deserved achievement. This is a clear indication of the high caliber of our Aerospace Engineering students and faculty.”
“We have several courses and research activities in the Department that focus on the design and performance of UAVs. For example, Dr. Yahya Zweiri, an Associate Professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department, teaches a course entitled UAV Modeling and Control which covers the theory and practice of the modeling and control of UAV systems. Several research projects that are supported by the local UAE industries are led by Dr. Yahya. Our students are well-trained in applying the state-of-the-art methods for designing UAVs,” Dr. Rashid said.
Currently, Asmaa is working on her Senior Design Project titled “ADCS System for KU 2U CubeSat” funded by the Boeing Company.
Ara Maj Cruz
13 January 2021