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Student Spotlight: Toby Dilworth

Student Spotlight: Toby Dilworth


Toby Dilworth is no stranger to UAS applications. The University of Maryland Department of Mechanical Engineering student actually founded an aerial photography business when he was 18. And now he’s leveraging that experience to improve search and rescue operations.

What first sparked your interest in UAS technology?

I first became interested in UAS during my freshman year in high school after watching some videos online. I started by building my own drones and then moved on to starting an aerial photography LLC.

What is the goal of your internship project?

This summer, I am working on coordinating multiple drones in a search and rescue scenario. The goal is to cut down on the time it takes to search a large area and have the system run autonomously so that first responders can use it reliably. Using my project, emergency personnel would arrive on scene, set up a computer and the drones, layout the area that they wish to search, and just press "go." The drones would search the area autonomously, stopping when they identify an area of interest.

What have you enjoyed most about working at the UAS Test Site?

Working at the test site has been a great experience. I like the freedom that we are given to work on our projects without too much supervision. Being responsible for our own time and progress on such a large project is an experience I have not really had up until this point.

What has been the most challenging element of your internship so far?

It can sometimes be hard to break the project down into manageable chunks that are easy to work with.

What advice do you have for students considering an internship at the UAS Test Site next summer?

For those considering an internship, I would say it's an experience that should not be passed up. It is a great opportunity to both work independently and learn a lot while meeting with and working alongside some of the best people in the industry.

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