An Affordable Lightweight UAV Launch System

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Mac McKee, Byard Wood, Daniel Magda


The rise of small and cheap unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prompting their adoption for scientific and humanitarian purposes. They are currently in use by fire fighters for monitoring the spread of forest fires, by conservationists to track invasive species in hard to reach locations, and in agriculture so farmers can precisely fertilize their fields limiting nitrogen run off. Their combination of short flight time and use in rural areas require take off without a runway. Current commercial UAV launch systems can be several times the cost of the UAV, too expensive for many non-profit organizations on limited budgets. A more cost effective solution is essential. In partnership with the Utah Water Research Laboratory a new system has been designed and built. This system costs 8% of comparable systems, is both collapsible and light enough to be shipped as standard checked luggage through international flights while still rugged enough to withstand field use. Our presentation will discuss the design solution.

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