NATS Prestwick hosts UWS for air traffic gaming competition

19 December 2019

NATS hosted students from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at the Prestwick Control Centre on 10 December, where the winners of a computer game design competition were announced. Working in collaboration with the University as part of their strategic partnership, NATS and UWS created the competition to encourage students to think about how air traffic control works.

The students were tasked with creating a proposal for a game that would demonstrate the role of NATS and show the challenges faced when handling 2.6 million flights and 250 million passengers per year in UK airspace. Ross Hugh Kilpatrick and Damian Slocombe, 4th Year Computer Games Development Students, won with a simulation-based design which was both fun and engaging, with a focus for a younger STEM-orientated audience.

Each student was awarded a £50 gift voucher in recognition of the hard work and effort that went into their proposal, with the winners receiving an additional £250 prize.

NATS has been working with universities and schools for many years now to encourage the learning of STEM subjects and highlight the early career programmes available in the aviation industry and specifically at the air navigation services provider, where students can avail of top of the range training, advanced technologies and the opportunity to work for one of the industry leaders. This competition is a first for the Research and Development team in Scotland however, who are hoping to further develop their capabilities in order to deliver the future of aviation with the focus on automation and adaptive systems.

Trevor Arnold, Head of R&D, NATS, said: “We were really impressed with the work put in to every single project; each one showed innovative thought and process and offered something different. We were excited by the dedication of the students and look forward to continuing our work with UWS and other universities on more initiatives like this.

“We recognise the value of collaboration and the ‘blue sky thinking’ happening in universities across the UK and we are always looking to strengthen and develop our working with a wider community to deliver the future of aviation.”

Carl Schaschke, Dean of the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, UWS, said: “Through this competition, we are pleased to have given students the opportunity to engage with an industry leader and we look forward to working on more exciting opportunities in the future.”

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