A Conversation with Strath AIS

The Organ Droner Concept

A team of 6 StrathAIS members ranging from 2nd-5th year and spanning different disciplines placed 2nd overall in the Dassault Systems Sustainable Aviation competition, competing against University teams from across the UK and Ireland!  Team Strath created the ‘Organ Droner’ (Excellent name), an aircraft which quickly and autonomously transports organs for emergency operations.

We chat with Fraser from the team about the society and how this all came about!

Introduce yourself!

Hi, my name’s Fraser! I am currently a fourth year, aero-mechanical engineering student and I am enjoying my second year of being involved with StrathAIS. 

You’re a member of StrathAIS, for those who might not know what is StrathAIS?

StrathAIS stands for Strathclyde Aerospace Innovation Society. It is a student run society which, as the name suggests, is dedicated to the pursuit of aerospace innovation. Our members join forces, creating teams of students which complete aerospace-related projects and enter competitions run by a number of organisations from across the aerospace industry including the AIAA, The European Space Agency and many more. These opportunities allow students to utilise and refine skills developed during their studies and also perhaps learn some new ones.

Teams are predominantly made of engineering students; however, the society is open to all students with a keen interest in taking part, regardless of their degree. Competition entries generally go up against university teams from across the world, with the opportunity to win prizes and media coverage in many cases. Getting involved is a great way to improve technical and interpersonal skills through working collaboratively on interesting aerospace projects which focus on cutting-edge, innovative concepts.

What is your role within StrathAIS?

The society looks to take on a range of projects and members are encouraged to be involved and take on roles they feel comfortable in. Thus, within the society as a whole, roles are not fixed and can vary depending on the project – some senior members do take on society management roles however.

I have taken on competition team leader roles on two projects whilst being a member within the society but, with this, I have also been involved within CAD design and logistics and finance. There are a number of areas to work on within most projects and, from my experience, even when assigned to a specific sub-team, there are opportunities to work on numerous project aspects – which of course is a great thing as it allows members to be more involved!

You recently took part in a competition and came second!  Congrats, what was involved in that?

Thank you! The Sustainable Aviation Competition was run by Dassault Systèmes who are the creators of industry leading engineering software. The competition was run throughout the months of October and November and seen groups of students from universities across the UK and Ireland come up with and design what they thought envisioned “the future of propulsion” with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Project work was completed using Dassault Systèmes collaborative engineering software, the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, to which the teams were given access to, alongside a wealth of training materials to develop skills in using the system.

The initial stages saw the StrathAIS team complete software training modules and brainstorm our project concept while planning completion using team management applications on the platform. We then brought our concept to life, utilising CAD and analysis applications to create and improve our design before creating a 15-minute video, showcasing and explaining our concept, its relevance to society and the sustainability aspect.

After the video submission, we were informed that we were amongst the top 3 team submissions and were invited to present our video to a panel of experts in the aerospace industry. After presenting our video, we undertook a 15-minute Q&A session with the panel discussing some other key factors of our design. After this we were thrilled to be announced 2nd place in the competition overall!

What led to you coming up with the idea? Who came up with the name Organ Droner? Haha

The project was a complete team effort and while brainstorming, we decided that we wanted our concept to not only contain all aspects outlined in the brief, but also have a strong focus on helping human life. Our research found that current methods for organ donation transport can be considered inefficient and with organ donation laws changing in recent years, the number of organs to be donated will vastly increase. Without a quick transportation method, many organs may not be able to be donated to help others; thus, we believed the use of drones could truly help solve this problem by greatly reducing transport times. It was on our finalisation of this concept in which we came up with the name – a combination of organ donor and drone to create the ‘Organ Droner’ haha.

We wanted to utilise hydrogen fuel cell technology as it is a highly sustainable form of propulsion and also because it is a fuel source which, if utilised correctly, could allow a very long range for a light aircraft. This would be an essential specification for the drone so that it could travel to and from hospitals.

The 'organ droner' design concept with the Strath AIS team underneath

The Organ Droner concept art above. Fraser and team Strath AIS below

Do you have a working prototype?

Unfortunately not. The design competition was one with a short run-time and focused on the conceptual design of aircraft which, with developments in the aerospace industry, could become a possibility in the future. Our concept however, is one which we believe is not too farfetched as developments are currently underway with hydrogen propulsion units and their utilisation within some small aircraft has already been tested. Hopefully we will see more aircraft using zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell propulsive units very soon.

Where can people find out more about StrathAIS?

StrathAIS has a website and also social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn which keep up to do date with the going’s on in the society. The best way to reach out to the society is through one of the social media platforms.

Do you have any fun facts, either about yourself or in general?

Did you know that around only 5% of the world’s current population have ever flown on an aeroplane? Also, did you know that shadows look darker on the moon than they do on Earth?

As for myself, I’d say the most interesting fact I can think of is that I’m a twin with a different birthday from my sibling twin haha.

What is one item you cannot be without?

I would have to say my phone haha. Like many, I don’t think I’d be able to cope without it as we’ve developed such a reliance on them. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing though – they can be used for education and to improve productivity amongst other things. Although, it does depend how you use them I guess haha.

How have you been doing in the Coronavirus situation?

I’ve been well, thank you for asking; I hope you have been too. It’s taken a while to get used to the new way of working but it’s not so bad for myself. It is a strange and difficult time for many though, and I would urge everyone to make sure they take some time out for themselves and keep in contact with their friends and family. You never know who is struggling silently and how much difference a friendly “hello” can make.

Thanks for chatting, do you have any parting wisdom?


I would say to anyone looking to get a bit more out of university to seriously consider joining a society or club, whether it be StrathAIS or any other. It really is a great way to, at the least, make new friends and in many cases develop skills which can boost your employability while having fun!

Stay Safe,

Fraser & the StrathAIS Team


Huge thanks to Fraser for chatting with us!  Got a story to tell?  Reach out to us here!


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