SDSU engineering students to build human-carrying drone

Engineering students at South Dakota State University are designing a drone large enough to carry a human for their capstone senior design project, with help from a nearly $80,000 grant from NASA.

“NASA wants to address specific topics, one of which is related to innovation in aeronautic transportation,” explained assistant mechanical engineering professor Marco Ciarcià, the senior design group’s project adviser. “The air transportation initiative aims to gather innovative ideas and to inspire young engineers. Our team is proposing an autonomous aerotaxi; another team might propose something completely different, like to develop a software for air traffic management, for example.”

The team will receive half of the funding, but then must raise at least $2,000 through crowdsourcing to receive the remainder of the grant monies.