Letting people experience something new

Drones are not that special anymore, but a drone with wings certainly is. Mechatronics student Remco Stam is working on it during his internship at a Delft-based start-up. This type of drone is not only safer for people but also quite fun to watch. Just imagine standing at a concert or festival and suddenly seeing flying robotic birds perform choreography.

Self-flying drone

Remco is doing an internship at Flapper Drones, a start-up that develops drones with wings instead of propellers. Remco’s internship assignment is focused on getting the drones to fly autonomously. He is working on an open-source positioning system that will be mounted on the Flapper Drone. This will eliminate the need for a pilot to control the drone’s movements. A usual working day for Remco is spent writing the software and carrying out tests. Based on his test results, he makes improvements or moves on to the next component.

Friendly atmosphere

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Remco can still work safely on site. He is happy about it. Remco: “This makes it easier to physically test the drones and I also get to see my colleagues”. Not only does he work very directly on his assignment, but he also participates in team meetings and shares his knowledge and experience to help the young company move forward. Flapper Drones is located in the Aerospace Innovation Hub of the Delft University of Technology. Because of all the startups located here, the atmosphere is friendly. The company itself is not that big, which makes it easy to get in touch with each other. Remco: “It is cosy and it feels very familiar”.

Proud of his work

Remco is already proud of what he has done in the past few weeks. “It is very motivating to see my work in motion, and I think I will be even prouder of myself when the project is completely finished, when everything works. At the end of my internship, I will deliver a Flapper Drone that flies independently based on a positioning system I integrated!” He is planning to give a demonstration then. He will also deliver a report with his designs and test results. Based on this, the company can decide whether to implement the system immediately or develop it further first.

Seeing ideas work in practice

What matters to Remco is that this internship allows him to gain real-world experience. “I really like working on new developments and having a part in it. The great thing about this internship, as well as the Mechatronics programme in general, is that I will eventually get to see my ideas work in practice”.

Helping a start-up develop

Along the way, Remco is also learning everything there is to know about starting up a business in the tech sector. In fact, he feels he is contributing significantly to the development of the company: “It is really rewarding to see that the company has faith in my ability to deliver a good project”. And because the system comes from an open-source platform, the whole drone community benefits from all the knowledge Remco gains during his internship.

Letting people experience something new

Remco thinks there is a future for him in technology applied to the entertainment industry. Enthusiastically he concludes: “I think it’s great fun to let people experience something new and leave a lasting memory. So that after a day at an amusement park, they not only remember the roller coaster, but also a flying elf. I think that with future internships I will also explore other sectors, but for now this appeals to me the most”.

Read more about the Mechatronics degree programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.