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FIRST RESPONDER UAS ENDURANCE CHALLENGE

Congratulations to Stage 1 Winners Circle!!

Accepting new entries starting December for Stage 3 Walk-on Contest

Prepare your UAS prototype NOW!

Rules

SUMMARY OF CHALLENGE

The following is a summary of each contest:

STAGE 1: Concept Paper Contest

The Concept Paper Contest invites all eligible Contestants to complete a concept paper outlining their knowledge, skills, capabilities and approach for this challenge. Contestants’ concept papers will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts and judges who will select those Contestants to be invited to the challenge kickoff webinar. Contestants selected by the Judging panel will be eligible to move forward to Stage 2: Design, Prototyping, & Hardware Build Contest.

  • Up to 20 Contestants will be invited to advance to Stage 2: Design, Prototyping, & Hardware Build Contest. Of the selected Contestants up to 10 Contestants will receive prize awards. The remaining 10 Contestants will be invited to advance and will not receive prize awards.

STAGE 2: Design, Prototyping, Hardware Build Contest

In this contest, the Contestants will purchase or create the hardware necessary to implement the design approach outlined within their concept paper. Contestants will purchase or create (for example: using 3D printing or machining) the hardware or parts necessary to build their prototype drone to the specifications and required safety standards. Contestants will take part in aseries of design reviews to demonstrate progress towards achieving the teams’ proposed designs.

  • Milestone 1: Up to 15 Contestants will be selected to receive prize awards following the Preliminary Design Review (PDR); the five other Contestants may be invited to advance to Critical Design Review (CDR).
  • Milestone 2: Up to 15 Contestants will be selected to receive prize awards following the Critical Design Review; the five other Contestants may be invited to advance to Stage 3. (All Contestants invited to advance to Stage 3 are considered “winning Contestants” fromStage 2.)

Stage 3: Video Test & Safety Evaluation Contest

Once the UAS prototype build is complete, winning Contestants from Stage 2 will be required to complete a series of Video Test & Safety Evaluation flights designed to ensure the UAS completes minimum requirements for safety, hardware configuration, flight time, and payload with their prototype drone.

Walk-on Teams: Video Test & Safety Evaluation Contest

In addition to the winning Contestants from Stage 2, Contestants who did not participate in Stage1 or Stage 2 may enter the Challenge at Stage 3 as “Walk-on Contestants”. As part of Stage 3, Walk-on Contestant entries will be evaluated for eligibility and performance with an opportunity to advance to Stage 4.

  • Up to 15 Contestants (which may include any Stage 3 Contestants or Walk-on Contestants) will advance to Stage 4: Live Test & Evaluation Contest and receive invitational travel prize awards.

STAGE 4: Live Test & Evaluation Contest

group photo

The Live Test & Evaluation Contest is the final stage of the challenge. All Contestants will complete a series of static tests and live test flights to demonstrate their prototype drones’ capabilities. Contestants completing at least the minimum standards will be ranked and, based onthose rankings, may receive prize awards. In addition, invitational travel prize awards for each team of Contestants or Contestant who placed first, second, or third place will be awarded to attend and present their UAS solution at the PSCR Annual Stakeholders Meeting in June 2021.

Drone Design Specification

Drones entered will be subject to the requirements and limitations defined in the Drone Design Specification (outlined in the table below). Drones must not be a completely unaltered commercial, off-the-shelf UAS as the intent of the challenge is to design a UAS that is customized for the specific flight time and payload requirements of the challenge. The followingtable describes the design requirements for the UAS Challenge. The “Requirement Title” is the nomenclature used to refer to the Requirement. The “Requirement Definition” describes the meaning of the specific requirement. The “Challenge Requirement” represents mandatory capabilities of the drone and minimum acceptable values for the specific requirement. The “Challenge Objective” provides guidance where higher standards are expected. Each Challenge Requirement or Challenge Objective applies to all Stages of the UAS Challenge unless any deviation is noted in the following table: Drone Design Specification.

Requirement Title Requirement Details

Endurance

Requirement Definition

Endurance is the maximum length of time that a drone at All Up Weight can safely spend in continuous flight.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall have an Endurance greater than or equal to 60 minutes.

NOTE: Endurance shall be conducted and or calculated at AUW
NOTE: Minimum actual endurance for Stage 3 contestants is 30 minutes.
Minimum actual endurance time must be 60 minutes to achieve points in Stage 4.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where 60 minutes is the minimum requirement. Greater points will be awarded for contestants whose flight times exceed 60 minutes.
Contestants will receive scores for flight times in excess of 60 minutes with more points for greater endurance.

All Up Weight

Requirement Definition

All Up Weight (AUW) is the maximum allowable take-off weight for the drone.  This includes the weight of the drone with airframe, engines, operating equipment, payload, and fuel, with the exception of the Flight Termination System (FTS).

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall have an AUW not to exceed 100 pounds*.

*NOTE: Drones that exceed the FAA's 55 pounds weight restriction under 14 CFR Part 107 shall provide the appropriate FAA approved waiver No Later Than the Safety Assessment but prior to any flights that would require the waiver.
Waivers are the sole responsibility of the Contestants to acquire from the FAA.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where 100 pounds is the minimum requirement.   Greater points will be awarded for contestants whose All Up Weight is less.

VTOL
(Vertical Take-off and Landing)

Requirement Definition

Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) is the ability to take off and land vertically.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Loiter

Requirement Definition

Loiter is the ability of the drone to fly over some small region on the ground while maintaining a certain distance and altitude relative to a defined position in the air.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be able to loiter within a small defined airspace centered around a defined position and altitude.

Challenge Objective

Greater points will be awarded for contestants who can maintain a smaller loiter area.

Level of Autonomy

Requirement Definition

Level of Autonomy refers to the spectrum of independence that the drone can operate. 
Level 0 is manual operation
Level 1 is the drone controls 1 vital function
Level 2 is the drone controls heading and altitude
Level 3 is the drone performs all key functions
Level 4 the drone has back-up systems
Level 5 is fully autonomous operation

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be capable of operating at levels 0, 1, and 2.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where greater Levels of Autonomy such as 3 and 4 will receive greater points. These may include (but are not limited to) pre-programmed flight paths, obstacle avoidance, and automatic orbits.

Total System Weight

Requirement Definition

Total System Weight is the weight of the entire system (to include drone, Ground Control Station, spares, fuel, and storage).

Challenge Requirement

Total System Weight shall not exceed 120 pounds.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where 120 pounds is the minimum requirement.   Greater points will be awarded for contestants whose Total System Weight is less.

System Volume

Requirement Definition

System Volume is the amount of space that the system occupies in a stored configuration.

Challenge Requirement

The System Volume shall not exceed 72 cubic feet and must fit within a 3 ft X 4 ft X 6 ft space.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where 72 cubic feet of volume is the minimum requirement.   Greater points will be awarded for contestants whose System Volume is less.

Payload

Requirement Definition

The payload is the mission specific capability carried by the drone.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall carry a payload weight of 10 pounds, which will be provided by NIST.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Payload Mount

Requirement Definition

The payload mount is the mechanism used to attach the payload to the drone.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be equipped with the mounting mechanism referenced in Appendix (Sketch Up Files), which will be provided to them by NIST.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Component Weight

Requirement Definition

Component weight is the weight of a single component of the entire system.

Challenge Requirement

No single component of the system shall weigh greater than 50 pounds.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where 50 pounds is the minimum requirement. Greater points will be awarded for contestants whose Component Weights are less.

Set Up Time

Requirement Definition

The total amount of time required to place a system into an operational state from the stored configuration in the back of a vehicle

Challenge Requirement

Beginning from a stored configuration in the back of a vehicle, the drone shall be capable of being setup to be in an operational state, ready to fly in 20 minutes or less.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where greater points will be awarded for contestants whose Set Up Time is less.

Real Time Video

Requirement Definition

Real time video is the ability to provide full motion video to the ground control station during anticipated mission operations.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall provide real time full motion video to the ground control station at a minimum resolution of 1280 X 720 progressive (720p).

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Gimbal Camera

Requirement Definition

The drone shall be equipped with a camera mounted on a stabilized gimbal that is capable of pan and tilt (2 axis), at a minimum.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be equipped with a camera mounted on a stabilized gimbal that is capable of pan and tilt (2 axis), at a minimum.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

GPS

Requirement Definition

GPS is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) providing geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be equipped with a Global Position System.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

RTK-GPS

Requirement Definition

A real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS enhances the accuracy of satellite-based positioning using corrections broadcast in real-time to a roving GPS receiver from a ground-based stable GPS receiver.

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be equipped with a real-time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) and a stable ground station that is broadcasting the differential GPS corrections shall be included with the system.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Flight Termination System

Requirement Definition

An FTS operates independently of the drone’s, radios and ground control station and is able to immediately cut power to all of the drone's motors at once when activated.

Challenge Requirement

Flight Termination System (FTS) - The system shall be equipped with an independent FTS (i.e., a Kill Switch) that when activated cuts power to all motors instantaneously.

*NOTE, an "ARM/DISARM" type function is not an acceptable FTS.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Tethers

Requirement Definition

A tether is a physical connection between the drone and the ground that can provide power and communications and/or can be used to simply attach the drone to the ground.

Challenge Requirement

The system shall not have any Tethers and must be free flying.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Radio Controller

Requirement Definition

The drone shall be capable of operating in the presence of other radio signals that could interfere with the wireless connection. Therefore, contestants shall use radios based on FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum).

Challenge Requirement

The drone shall be capable of operating in the presence of other radio signals that could interfere with the wireless connection. Therefore, contestants shall use radios based on FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum).

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

System Cost

Requirement Definition

System cost is the total cost of all components of a system to include (software, hardware, spares, and custom-made items), with exception of the Flight Termination System (FTS).  All components are listed in the Bill of Materials (BOM).

Challenge Requirement

The system cost shall not exceed $30,000.

Challenge Objective

Contestants will be evaluated on a scale where $30,000 is the minimum requirement. Greater points will be awarded for contestants whose System Cost is less.

FAA

Requirement Definition

The system shall comply with all FAA laws and regulations

Challenge Requirement

The system shall comply with all FAA laws and regulations

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Pilot

Requirement Definition

Part 107 is the FAA's remote pilot certification for use by certified drone pilots.

Challenge Requirement

The team shall have one (1) FAA certified Part 107 pilot
NOTE:  Additional pilots are recommended.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Drone Insurance

Requirement Definition

Drone liability insurance covers damage to third party property and injury to other people.

Challenge Requirement

The team shall have Drone (liability) insurance with a minimum coverage of $1M prior to conducting any flights outside of an enclosed test facility.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

FCC

Requirement Definition

The system shall comply with all FCC laws and regulations.

Challenge Requirement

The system shall comply with all FCC laws and regulations.

Challenge Objective

No additional objective

Safety Specific Requirements:

All flights shall comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
All flights shall occur at authorized drone flying areas.
All pilots shall be Part 107 certified and covered by drone insurance.
Drone energy sources must be safely integrated into the flight systems (battery, liquid fuel, etc.)
Any design that is deemed to pose a significant risk may be disqualified or not selected to advance.