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Prize visit for UTC Reading’s winning drone team

Following last term’s Big Data Project with Peter Brett Associates (PBA), the winning team revealed its innovative emergency drone to the Institute for Environmental Analytics as part of their prize.

CEO Colin McKinnon, Director of Science Dr Jon Blower and Partner of PBA Martin Dix welcomed the students to the University of Reading with FRED, the First Response Emergency Drone. The students designed it to take instant aerial shots at the scene of an accident or disaster, sending information to emergency control centres to inform decisions on which 999 and specialist units to deploy and where.

UTC student Katherine Hughes, 18, acted as project manager to all the teams in the Big Data Project. She said: “Challenges like these build our confidence and skills, and give us new insights into what we are learning.”

Joe Green, 16, was team leader for FRED. Joe said: “The main issue was communication and making sure everyone had the correct information across the four sections of the team, working in different parts of the college.”

McKinnon said: “As an organisation at the forefront of applying environmental data analytics across a wide range of commercial and community uses, we were very impressed with the enterprise and skills of the students from UTC Reading, and their awareness of the value of data in our daily lives.”

The students heard about the growth of Big Data and its relevance to our daily lives, from food crops and transport to flooding and climate. They heard about all the roles that enable British astronaut Major Tim Peake’s mission on the International Space Station and the career paths available from Kathie Bowden of the UK Space Agency.

Michael Halliday, UTC Reading’s Business Relations Manager, said: “The talks given by IEA were a great opportunity for our students to further appreciate the bigger picture and the relevance of interrelated technical skills in the new world of predictive analytics. This is a highly topical subject at UTC Reading following the PBA Big Data project which, in addition to FRED, produced 15 other student solutions to various challenges they see in the current environment. The involvement of both PBA and the IEA in enriching our students’ education has spurred a new level of interest which is much needed by UK industry.”

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett