About us


Ascend NTNU is an aerial robotics team at NTNU, developing innovative solutions for world-class competitions in drone cybernetics. Our members are composed of motivated students across many technical fields, including autonomy and AI, cybernetics, computer vision, machine learning, software engineering, mechanical engineering, and electronics design. We aim high, work hard, and transform theories into first-hand experience through consistent research, meetings, and cross-disciplinary collaborations, ascending drone technology further and beyond!


Ascend NTNU was founded in 2015 as a group of spare-time UAV enthusiasts. After a year of development from scratch, we earned 3rd place in 2016 at the International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC). From 2017 to 2018, we achieved 3rd place for IARC Mission 7 and won the prize for the Most Innovative Drone twice in a row. In 2019 at IARC Mission 8, we won the awards for Best Technical Demonstration and Best System Design, and with that, we also came in 1st place overall in the American Venue!

Since then, our ambitions have ascended higher to winning more diverse competitions worldwide, such as the IARC mission 9, the AlphaPilot AI racing, and the TAC challenge. With new motivated members and improved technology each year, we won first prize for the TAC challenge from 2021 to 2022. In 2023, we are doing our best to prepare for the IARC Mission 9, the TAC challenge 2023, and the SUAS competition.

How we work

Flat and open structure

Ascend NTNU believes a flat and open organizational structure is best both for the well-being of our members and for results. Our goal is to be an organization where everyone is heard and can contribute where they want to.

Freedom and responsibility

We think motivation is about being given responsibility and trust. We believe that our members get the job done, and don’t spend resources on building heavy and demotivating control systems.

Learning by doing

No one in Ascend knows the exact solution to the problem they’re trying to solve. But everyone is open to learning new concepts and technologies. Our idea is that the best way to succeed is through trial and failure, learning, and getting help from good advisors.

Our workspace

In 2022, Ascend NTNU was granted an independent office floor next to the business school at Gløshaugen. All members have 24/7 access to this space, which includes workstations with screens and laptop docks. In addition, we have a fully stocked hardware room with oscilloscopes, soldering equipment, signal generators, and our very own 3D printers. Next to the office area is our shared kitchen, with our kiosk right by our lounge/Mario Kart tournament room. In addition, members have access to the Institute of Technical Cybernetics roof lab (“taklabben”) at Gløshaugen, where indoor testing for drone flights comes in handy.

Our collaborators

Ascend NTNU works closely with all of our sponsors and maintains a close relationship with the Institute of Technical Cybernetics (ITK), and the Department of Computer Science (IDI) at NTNU. Ascend gets access to labs, equipment, and competence from the institute and our sponsors. Several members write projects and master theses connected with their work at Ascend for IDI and ITK. Our sponsors host frequent meetings, talks and support us with what we need! You can find our sponsor list at the bottom of the homepage.