Overview of Drone Technology

Middle School Students (grades 5-9)

Teams of 1-2 members


3 Event Components

  • Autonomous Flight Round
  • Research Portfolio
  • Manual Flight Round (Semifinals)

Autonomous Flight Round (2:30 min)

  • Teams code drone to fly pre-programmed flight paths to accomplish a series of missions autonomously

  • Teams use blocks-style programming, Scratch, Python, or JavaScript to code their drone


Research Portfolio

  • Teams are given a real-world topic which to research and creatively apply the use of drones

Manual Flight Round (2:30 min)

  • Semifinalist teams manually pilot their drone to accomplish a series of unknown missions

Oklahoma Technology Student Association (TSA) is hosting a unique event this year – Drone Technology.

Middle School TSA members in grades 5-9 will demonstrate their understanding of the principles of flight and knowledge of coding to program their drone to navigate a provided series of missions autonomously using pre-programmed commands and sensor/camera inputs. It’s not a race, but teams will only have 2:30 minutes to accomplish the given missions and score the most points. (Learn more about the Autonomous Flight Round)

Teams will also research the use of drones in real-world topics such as search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, agriculture, structural inspection, and more. Creating a research portfolio, teams will document their solutions and applications of drones to the given theme problem. As part of their portfolio, teams will also have to create a graphical flight plan for their autonomous flight missions. (Learn more about the Research Portfolio)

The top 12 semifinalist teams will get a chance to show off their piloting skills as they manually pilot their drone through a new set of missions. The missions are completely different from the autonomous missions and are not revealed until the day of the semifinal round. Once again, it’s not a race, but teams only have 2:30 minutes to complete the missions and score the most points. (Learn more about the Manual Flight Round)

Teams will apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to explore a given real-world problem to which the use of drones is the solution.