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Team VorTech win 2015 C-Prize

This article was published on 2 December 2015

Congratulations Team VorTech, winners of the 2015 Callaghan Innovation C-Prize.

Team VorTech with Callaghan Innovation's Chris Thomson

Team VorTech's Ben Maclaren and Ryan Kurte with Callaghan Innovation's Chris Thomson (right)

VorTech wins $50,000 and an expenses-paid trip to exhibit at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas, the largest international trade show for media content and technology.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said yesterday,“Team VorTech are a group of engineers based in Auckland that have developed the impressive Gyroscope UAV.

“This uses an innovative propeller design that allows thrust in any direction, helping it hold position in gusty winds.

“They have also incorporated a range of advanced sensor systems to understand the environment the UAV is operating in. On top of the significant technical achievement, VorTech presented a very strong commercialisation plan.”

Launched in April, the first C-Prize competition aimed to boost New Zealand’s position as world-leader in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology and help keep the country's innovative screen industry at the cutting-edge.

The C-Prize has helped two sectors to work together through a challenge format to quickly develop breakthrough technologies that will keep both at the top of their respective fields.

It challenged teams to design and build a prototype UAV (drone) that could overcome one of three obstacles that limit their use in the film and TV industry: strong wind, rotor noise and the need to track moving objects automatically.

Six finalists that were selected from 80 entries in July  - and had less than four months to build and test their prototype.

The six finalists were:

Team Team Members Institution C-Prize challenge
Butler Robotics UFO Karl & Cathy Butler Start-up company Eagle Eye
Ruru UAV Dr Mike Kingan, Dr Yusuke Hioka & Dr Karl Stol University of Auckland Purerehua
Dotterel NRS Seamus Rowe, Shaun Pentecost, Matthew Rowe, Will Barker, Steve Barr Former students of Manukau Institute of Technology Purerehua
VorTech UAV Ben McLaren, Simon Corkery, Nishaad Salvapantula, Ryan Kurte Former students of University of Auckland Marangai
The Kestrel Project Russell Donovan Individual entrant Marangai
Horizon Dr Karl Stol, Jérémie Bannwarth, Jeremy Chen, Andrew Carrell, Morgan McCauley, Steven Jiang, David How University of Auckland Marangai

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