Details for new members for how to get affiliated with UAS@UCLA

Welcome to UAS@UCLA! This document contains all the information that you will need to know to get signed up on our team communication platforms, access educational resources for learning about the technical component of our system, and learn the non-technical ins and outs of the team.

What is UAS?

Unmanned Aerial Systems is about designing aerial robots. Specifically, our team of UCLA students designs, manufactures, and tests aerial platforms for accomplishing a series of mission objectives outlines by the AUVSI SUAS competition, a competition held at the end of the school year in Maryland where over 60 teams (half of which are international) compete for the best mission performance, technical design paper, and presentation.

Group Photo

UAS@UCLA complements the undergraduate engineering education at UCLA by offering the chance to gain hands-on experience on a complex engineering project. This project requires members to not only think outside the box of their major, but also learn collaboration and management skills through experience. Ultimately, UAS@UCLA is a big commitment, but the skills that are taught on the team directly apply to the professional environments you will experience in later jobs and internships.

As of 2018, UAS@UCLA has competed twice in the AUVSI competition, producing the two drones seen in the videos above. Our most recent drone, Spinny, is a 5ft diameter industrial-grade drone capable of 100lbs maximum lift and close to an hour of flight time at its base configuration. The current plan for this upcoming season is to use the existing flight vehicle hardware to mature the software framework running on board and on the ground to maximize mission performance and reliability of the platform. In addition, our team will begin the design process for our next drone -- a plane designed to build upon the legacy of Spinny and provide a new set of challenges for our team to address. Although the plane may turn into a two-year development, there will be lots of engineering questions to be answered by new members to ensure the success of this platform.


Finally, UAS@UCLA is a family, and the connections you make on the team can not only serve to further your professional career, but also give you support during and beyond your time in the undergraduate programs offered at UCLA. One of the main goals of our 2018 - 2019 leadership team is to grow our club's culture and attract not only the best engineers to join our program, but also develop a diversified team with extensive collaboration opportunities among other teams at UCLA and internal career resources for leading members into their dream internship/job position in the STEM fields. This all begins with team integrity, so we encourage new members to do the following:

  1. Don't be a stranger - Introduce yourself to leaders and other UAS members so that we can all get to know each other
  2. 80% of success is showing up - There will be times where new concepts don't make any sense, exams and other outside conflicts come between you and the team, and big picture team objectives becomes blurry as everyone begins working on their assigned portion of the project. Always ask questions when you are confused on concepts, and please communicate with the team leads if you have a conflict! We will try our hardest to accomodate your needs and give you the best chance of making your appearance on the team.
  3. The other 20% is following up - None of the top engineers you see today got where they are without putting in hours outside of their regular schedules to sit down and hammer through the bugs and issues in their works. Drone technology is inherently complex, and there are no classes at UCLA that will give you the definite answers to problems that our team will need to solve this coming season. It is your job to put in the hours outside of team meetings to dive deeply into these engineering problems and figure out exactly what needs to be done to solve them to the best of your ability

OK I'm sold, how do I actually join the team?

You will first need to sign up on team communication platforms. Here are the online platforms that our team uses for announcements, chat, task management, documentation, scheduling, and storage:

Slack: Chat for specific or technical discussions

  • The heart of group and one-on-one communication between team members.

  • Members of the team can join a variety of channels dedicated to communication about a particular subject (for instance, the general channel holds big picture team discussions, while the vision subsystem channel holds lower-level technical discussions about the vision system)

  • HOW DO I JOIN: Create a Slack account & message your real name + email (used for Slack registration) to the general UAS@UCLA email with the header "[SLACK REGISTRATION]"

  • url: slack.uasatucla.org


General Channels
#1_announcements - Important headlines only (NOT for general discussion)
#1_general - General discussion
#1_memes - Dank Meme$

Subteam Channels
#2_airframe - Aerodynamic and mechanical design of the flight vehicle
#2_controls - Robotics software for actuating the flight hardware
#2_ground - Groundstation control board, frontend
#2_vision - AI infrastructure, target identification
#2_testing - QA, simulations, R&D, test flights

Non-technical Channels
#3_careers - Information regarding internships, career fairs, etc
#3_money - Reimbursements/purchasing/budgeting
#3_sponsorship - For reaching out to people with money
#3_recruitment - For getting new members/developing educational resources
#3_newbies - For new members

Wiki: Documentation and central hub for team education

  • You are here.

  • The UAS@UCLA wiki is where you can find technical/non-technical records written by our members for future reference, practice/challenge projects for new and returning members, and general team information. It is accessible by the public, but requires an account to edit.

  • HOW DO I JOIN: Message your email (used for Slack registration) to the general UAS@UCLA email with the header "[WIKI REGISTRATION]". Once you receive a response that you have been added, you can easily login using the login panel. Click on the Slack login option on this panel, and authorize the Wiki to verify your identity using your Slack credentials. If prompted to enter a Slack workspace, enter "uclauas" and continue on to login to Slack using your username/password.

  • url: uasatucla.org/wiki

Kanboard: Task management and accountability

Google Group: Mass Email, Calendar, and Storage

Group: Mailing List

  • This is where we will send out mass email announcements about upcoming events, meetings, and deadlines. Additionally, being added to this group gives you access to both our team files and the calendar
  • To send a mass email to the whole group, send it to this address: ucla-uas@googlegroups.com (requires certain permissions for this to work)

Drive: Files and documents

  • To share something with just the people on the team, share the document/folder with the following address: ucla-uas@googlegroups.com
  • Suggestion: Use your g.ucla.edu email when signing up for the Google Group, as you have free lifetime unlimited storage through Google's education partnership with the university.
  • HOW DO I JOIN: Get added to the Google Group first & then go to the above url Once in the folder, right-click on the name "UAS@UCLA storage" at the top of the page and click "add to drive".
  • url: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B6JNCVD7piaScVREVzNOR24xWlE?usp=sharing

Calendar: Scheduling

I've got a couple questions. Who's in charge here?

Here is the UAS@UCLA 2018-2019 leadership team:

The Board

The board is responsible for non-technical aspects of the team, such as executive decisions, money management, recruitment, sponsorship/outreach, and more.

  • Operations and Infrastructure Team Lead: Comran Morshed
  • Design and Manufacture Team Lead: Tom Kantner
  • Treasurer and Resource Manager: David Thorne
  • Sponsorship and Outreach Liason: Eric Wong
  • Recruitment and Member Relations: John Tabakian

The Directors

Directors focus on specific technical sides of the drone. These directors lead the five subteams on UAS@UCLA, which are split up by subsystems used in the framework of the drone.

  • Airframe Director: David Thorne
  • Asst. Airframe Director: Eric Wong
  • Ground Director: Ryan Nemiroff
  • Vision Director: Ben Limpanukorn
  • Testing Director: Ivan Manan

Advisors and Grad Students

Ok but I've still got some questions...

Feel free to reach out to us using the Contact Us page on the main website.