Engineering students take third prize at the Canadian Engineering Competition

Posted on April 01, 2020

team member talking about solution

Queen’s Engineering and Applied Science students placed third in the prestigious 2020 Canadian Engineering Competition, which took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba in March. The national competition brings together over 200 undergraduate engineering students across Canada to compete in eight categories that challenge them to solve complex problems.

The annual competition is by invitation only, with selected teams having to first win their school competition and achieve a top performance at a regional competition. The team of Andrew Fryer (Computer Engineering), Andrew Farley (Computer Engineering), Joseph Grosso (Mathematics and Engineering) and Kyle Singer (Engineering Physics) won the Queen’s Engineering Competition and placed second at the Ontario Engineering Competition to qualify.

Competing in the programming category, the team was tasked with simulating a drone recreating a 3-D structure from coloured blocks that had been scattered. Restrictions, such as limiting which blocks the drone could see and the number of blocks held at a time, added to the complexity of the problem.

Andrew Fryer says that Queen’s approach to learning prepared them well for the challenge. “It was a difficult engineering problem that required design skills, but also coding and communication skills,” he says. “These are all competencies that we learn in our programs.”

The team was required to present their understanding of the problem, the process they followed, a solution and proposed next steps. They created an environment for the drone to interact with, then implemented functionality for the drone to take actions, and wrote an algorithm to control the drone to move the blocks around and reconstruct the structure in the fewest movements possible.

Andrew notes that the Faculty’s quality of teaching was vital to their success. “Our professors prepared us well to think through the challenge and to follow a successful design process,” he says. “Along with technical skills, they are teaching us the critical thinking skills that engineers need to solve problems in the world today.”

group photo with prize