2013-02-21 / Local & State

College Students Win Energy Contest With Robotic Helicopters

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – A team of graduate students from the University of Michigan has won a $50,000 prize for work on unmanned aerial vehicle technology.

SkySpecs, LLC is developing small, robotic helicopters that could gather inspection data from hard-to-reach or dangerous places in places such as bridges and wind turbines.

The university and DTE Energy established the annual contest five years ago to encourage students across the state to take clean technology ideas from the drawing board to real-world ventures.

Twenty-two teams from 10 Michigan colleges and universities reached the competition’s semifinal round. Each spent six months on their project. They received training in forming businesses and up to $2,000 in funding.

Second-place teams are developing systems to help grow fresh produce at home and create a better bike sharing system.

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