Delft’s Team Alpha came out on top in the final, with a working prototype that could actually fly autonomously. The expert jury, consisting of representatives from NATO, Boeing and TU Delft, gave its verdict on the two teams that had qualified for the grand finale.
In the end, DETHRONE emerged victorious, using blockchain-based technology for its swarm of drones. Here’s how: a swarm of interconnected drones is invited to explore new paths by an algorithm. By flying over new paths, these drones can collect tokens, such as a missing person’s orange vest or a distress signal in the form of a coloured plume of smoke.
As soon as a drone ‘wins’ a token, they share this information with other drones and start looking for the next token. By playing this ‘game’, the drones can gradually explore any given area.
“This type of communication is similar to how bees search for nectar and share the location of flowers with the rest of the colony,” Walter explains.
It’s a winning combination: the UMV ecosystem with unmanned flight experts and the facilities of the makerspace. Project X is a textbook example of how to successfully help and guide teams through a challenge, and it won’t be the last of its kind. “Project X will most likely get a sequel and similar challenges will definitely follow in the future,” Walter assures us.