The 'Welcome to the Jungle!' drone competition is one of NXP's latest efforts in bringing together bright minds to create
breakthrough technologies that make the connected world better, safer and more secure. The pioneering competition kindles the
interest of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by expanding their knowledge in designing and flying
programmable drones. It was designed for and by students with the support of the NXP UK STEM team based in Glasgow.
Moments of Inspiration
Back in 2020, Jeff Loeliger, a systems engineer for automotive processors at NXP, had an idea to get more students interested in STEM.
Two years later, four fourth-year secondary school (S4) students from Dalziel High School in Motherwell took on the project, working together with the NXP UK STEM team. They volunteered on Friday afternoons to collaborate with new graduates and
experienced NXP engineers. Together, they developed a competition for local secondary schools based on flying programmable
The first edition of the competition took place on May 31st in Glasgow after months of challenging work and meticulous
preparation. NXP welcomed 34 students (aged 13-14 years) and teachers from 7 local secondary schools to compete in the
competition. Showcasing their creativity, the young tech enthusiasts put their technical skills to the test.
The Challenge: Run Through the Jungle
The participating schools had received their special drone kits only six weeks before. Their challenge was to program the drone
to navigate a tricky, three-dimensional obstacle course. Each team had three attempts to navigate the jungle-themed course
filled with artificial leaves, rocks and even "wild" animals. This allowed them to refine their programming skills between each
attempt to pass more obstacles. The students were also tasked with completing the course in reverse order with only 15 minutes of
additional programming time, testing their initiative and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, individual drone flying skills
together with communication and team strategy were evaluated with the Lego® search and rescue mission. Using a magnet suspended
from the bottom of the drone allowed the pilots to hover over the hidden Lego figures to lift them to safety.
Students getting ready for the challenge at the first edition of the "Welcome to the Jungle" competition
During lunch, the participants discussed careers within the semiconductor industry with NXP team members while viewing
demonstrations of some innovative technologies. Andy Birnie, Country Manager NXP UK, commented, "Witnessing their eagerness to
learn, collaborative spirit and creative solutions reaffirms the immense potential of our youth. Many thanks to everyone in the
NXP UK STEM team, our engineers and the four S4 students from Dalziel High School in Motherwell for devising and implementing the
Some members of the NXP UK STEM team at the "Welcome to the Jungle" competition
Bright minds. Bright futures. NXP team members create breakthrough technologies that advance our world. The future starts here.
First Winners Announced, More to Come
At the end of a thrilling day, St Andrew's and St Bride's High School from East Kilbride took home the 3D printed NXP Welcome to
the Jungle trophy. “It is through programs like this that we continue to encourage the next generation of innovators and problem
solvers who will shape the future of our industry and create a positive impact on society," Andy concluded.
The winning team from St Andrew's and St. Bride's High School
The ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ competition was rolled out to schools local to the NXP Semiconductors office in Glasgow. Schools
from South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire and Glasgow City Council participated, bringing a diverse mix of students from many
social and educational backgrounds. The possibilities of rolling out the competition nationally throughout Scotland are
currently being explored. NXP believes that introducing young adults to STEM activities such as this will support the company in
finding innovative and enthusiastic talents.
to find out more about the STEM initiatives NXP coordinates around the world.