ETH students develop new solutions for the future

ETH students develop the first four-seater electric aircraft with a modular batt

ETH students develop the first four-seater electric aircraft with a modular battery system and a drone to help firefighters combat forest fires. (Photograph: ETH Zurich)

As part of the focus projects, mechanical and electrical engineering students have developed solutions for the challenges of the future. In teams, they spent two semesters developing new technical approaches for their respective projects. The "IGNIS" and "e-Sling" teams presented here are just two of this year’s many notable focus projects.

Unique electric aircraft

The "e-Sling" focus project team set itself the goal of developing the first four-seater electric aircraft that is optimized for different flight distances thanks to its modular battery system. In its basic configuration, it is expected to offer a range of 250 km for four passengers. Twelve ETH students are working on the project, in which they electrified an existing aircraft from South African manufacturer Sling and equipped it with an innovative cooling system. Additionally, an electric motor and high-performance inverter were also developed for the new electric drive train.

The team painted the small aircraft white and applied lightning bolts to it, thereby already revealing from the outside that the "e-Sling" is special.

New solution to fight forest fires

The "IGNIS" team is developing an autonomous surveillance drone to assist firefighters during forest fires. The drone has propellers attached to its wings, which enable energy-efficient flight. The wings can be tilted 90 degrees with the propellers to take off and land vertically like a helicopter in tight spaces.

A visual camera and a thermal imaging camera transmit images live and can detect and locate fires. The drone is also planned to be able to predict the spread of forest fires based on the wind and geography. This should help firefighters in difficult and time-critical situations.

Nicole Davidson

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