A team from Brigham Young University of Provo, Utah has won the second US-European micro air vehicle (MAV) competition.

This is the second time a US team has won the annual competition, which this year required the MAVs to travel between waypoints, identify four targets and drop a fake sensor - a paintball - all within 20min of taking off.

With GPS co-ordinate waypoints provided just before each team's flight, points were awarded for degrees of autonomy, minimisation of vehicle size and speed to accomplish the mission.

"The Brigham Young University's [flight] path planning was very valuable - they had a ground station with very good software. They were able to just point and click to select waypoints for their MAV," says the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) munitions department's organiser of the event, senior aerospace engineer Gregg Abate.

This year's competition was organised by the AFRL's munitions department and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's Emerald Coast chapter. The Brigham Young team won because its MAV was able to identify three out of the four targets and drop the paintball closest to the drop point - about 2m (6ft) away.

Other teams in the contest were France's aerospace university Enac, Florida University's Gator A and Gator B, German company Braun Modelltechnik, the Norwegian Proxflyer, and last year's winner, the University of Arizona. A US-Asian competition is being organised for 2007 and is likely to take place in India.

Source: Flight International