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Published September 30, 2010, 04:13 PM

UND Team Wins UAV Competition

A team of students from the University of North Dakota claimed first place in an annual unmanned aerial systems competition in Australia.

By: Associated Press,

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — A team of students from the University of North Dakota claimed first place in an annual unmanned aerial systems competition in Australia.

School officials said the UND group defeated 10 other teams in the UAV Outback Search and Rescue competition that concluded Wednesday in Kingaroy, Queensland.

The goal of the competition is to first locate a life-sized dummy known as "Outback Joe," then deliver him a water bottle.

UND became the first team in the four-year history of the event to locate the prized target. The team was able to pinpoint the dummy's location within 15 meters from about 800 feet above ground level.

That was worth $15,000 in prize money. School officials said Thursday that a decision hasn't been made on how the winnings will be spent.

UND failed to drop a 1-quart bottle within 100 meters of the dummy's location, which would have bumped the prize money to $50,000.

Mechanical engineering professor William Semke is the UND team's adviser.

Team members are David Dvorak of St. Cloud, Minn., Adam Gabbert of Bismarck, Danny Hajicek of Fargo, Kaci Lemler of Buxton, Wyatt Shallbetter of Corcoran, Minn., Jesse Sorum of Grand Forks, and Keith Strang of Sauk Rapids, Minn.

The competition included teams from the United States, Brazil, Holland and Australia.

UND has spent the last five years developing a research, education, training and flight testing laboratory for unmanned aircraft systems.

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