Implemented by       Capital Consulting Corporation    KSU at Salina           |       Supported by       NIST | PSCR

Implemented by Capital Consulting Corporation & Kansas State University – Salina, Supported by NIST & PSCR

This page will be updated as new FAQs become available.

# Posted Category
1 04/18/22 Submission

No, that is not necessary. However, we do encourage you to sign up on the Challenge website ( to receive updates about the Challenge.

2 04/18/22 Submission

No. Each unique team or Contestant may submit one proposal.

3 04/18/22 Submission

Yes. Updates to proposals can be submitted until the proposal deadline, only the latest version will be evaluated.

4 04/18/22 Submission

These terms refer to the Contestant Portal, where you will submit the Solution Description proposal along with other required documents during Stage 1. Contestants may fill out a form and upload one or multiple documents which contain all the required elements.

5 04/18/22 Requirements

Yes. The goal is to develop an innovative solution for first responder teams, which can include work you developed prior to this competition. However, the design must adhere to the UAS Design Specifications, outlined in Table B of the Official Rules.

6 04/18/22 Requirements

Contestants will be selected based on their solution descriptions. We recommend that each team pursue their solution description as entered. Teams can make refinements; however, major shifts in the approach are strongly discouraged.

7 04/18/22 Requirements

Liability insurance is required to ensure that all contestants are covered in the event of an accident during test flights for this challenge and the final live event. Proof of a team's drone liability insurance is required to be eligible to receive prizes.

8 04/18/22 Requirements

Yes. A team can implement multiple air vehicles as part of their design. However, the multiple air vehicles must adhere to the UAS Design Specifications, outlined in Table B of the Official Rules.

9 04/18/22 Requirements

No. System designs can utilize commercially available products in their design.

10 04/18/22 Requirements

Not if the drone is completely unaltered for this challenge. An unaltered commercial off-the-shelf drone will not be accepted as a solution.

11 04/18/22 Requirements

Yes. The Table B UAS Design Specification requirements specify the minimum accepted capabilities a drone (and the system) must have in order to be an acceptable submission in the contest. There are preferred additional capabilities at the bottom of the table that are desired but not required.

12 04/18/22 Requirements

The way we define flyability is the ease with which the UAS can be controlled by a minimally trained pilot. Think of it this way–if you are a brand new pilot, how easily could you fly and operate the UAS.

13 04/18/22 Requirements

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is the price that a UAS would typically be sold for at a retailer. This price includes the cost of goods in the product as well as a typical markup (average 20%). The cost of goods should include any cost that went into manufacturing the UAS including parts, labor, software, and so on.

14 04/18/22 Requirements

No. Any airframe type can be utilized; however, Contestants must show that the airframe meets the UAS Design Specification and is powered by batteries only.

15 04/18/22 Requirements

FAA regulations do not include indoor operations of UAS, and therefore, you do not need a FAA Part 107 license to enter.

16 04/18/22 Requirements

The use of Wi-Fi for communications between components on the UAS itself is allowed but is not advised, because it may be susceptible to interference from other radio frequency (RF) sources. A wired approach for this type of communication may be more prudent. The use of Wi-Fi for any communications between the UAS and the ground station or the flight termination system is allowed.

17 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

Per the Eligibility Requirements in the Official Challenge Rules, "At the time of entry, the Official Representative (individual or team lead, in the case of a group project) must be age 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories. In the case of a private entity, the business shall be incorporated in and maintain a place of business in the United States or its territories.”

18 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

There is no limit to the number of team members.

19 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

Yes, as long as the team has at least one US citizen. Contestants are required to comply with the Eligibility Requirements outlined in the Official Rules.

20 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

NIST distributes prize money as a lump sum payment to the official team representative. NIST is not involved in any further distribution of prize money. The official team representative must be age 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories.

21 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

Please be aware that all cash prizes awarded to Participants by NIST are subject to tax liabilities, and no withholding will be assessed by NIST on behalf of the Participant claiming a cash prize. Please reference the Terms & Conditions in the Official Challenge Rules.

22 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

Not in Stage 2.1, but yes, you may compete as a Walk-on contestant in Stage 2.2, by meeting all eligibility requirements defined for Stages 1 and 2, and having a fully compliant system.

23 04/18/22 Contestant Teaming

You are free to design your UAS as you like. However, the NIST logo cannot be included.

24 04/18/22 Live Event

To provide an even playing field, information regarding the location of the live competition site will not be shared until Stage 3.

25 04/18/22 Live Event

Challenge administrative staff members and live event site personnel will share site information and resources with Stage 2.2 winners.

26 04/18/22 Live Event

Spectators will be limited to NIST staff, judges, Challenge contestant staff and media. Other spectators will be decided upon as we get closer to the date of the live event, and all spectators will be required to register in advance.

27 04/18/22 Terms and Conditions

Once distributed, prize money is the property of the winner. However, we strongly encourage teams to continue participating in the Challenge as an opportunity to earn additional prizes, receive mentoring and improve your prototype.

28 04/18/22 Terms and Conditions

Absolutely. We encourage you to use this opportunity to publicly share your participation and any stage wins in the UAS Challenge. However, when publicizing your participation, you may not use NIST’s logo or official seal, and you may not claim NIST endorsement of your technology or organization.

29 04/18/22 Terms and Conditions

Each entrant retains title and full ownership in and to their submission. Entrants expressly reserve all intellectual property rights not expressly granted under the Challenge agreement. By participating in the Challenge, each “contestant grants the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the contestant’s entry (“demonstration license”). This demonstration license includes posting or linking to the contestant’s entry on the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology websites, including the competition website and inclusion of the contestant’s submission in any other media, worldwide.” Please refer to the Terms & Conditions in the Official Challenge Rules.

30 04/18/22 Terms and Conditions

As stated in the Terms & Conditions of the Official Rules, “Individuals currently receiving NIST funding through a grant or cooperative agreement are eligible to compete but may not utilize the NIST funding for competing in this challenge.” Additionally, “Contestants may not be a NIST contractor or associate, or private entity providing services to NIST acting within the scope of their contract, employment, or funding or acquisition agreement with NIST which would involve the use of NIST funding to support a contestant’s participation in the challenge.”

31 04/18/22 Terms and Conditions

The challenge is open to individuals who are 18 years of age and older. Please see the Official Challenge Rules for complete eligibility requirements.

32 05/11/22 Requirements

The intention is for the UAS to be able to perch on an uneven surface. To illustrate, can your UAS maintain level attitude on the 2" end of a 2x4 with the Center of gravity hanging off the end?

33 05/11/22 Live Event

Yes, additional details will be available in the future. Keep in mind the nature of public safety response and unknowns are an intrinsic part of any live event scenario.

34 05/11/22 Requirements

While there are not specified size dimensions, solvers should consider their design in the context of needing to operate in an unknown indoor environment where entry points and space may be limited.

35 05/11/22 Requirements

It is allowable but not a requirement.

36 05/11/22 Live Event

Additional details will be provided in the future. However, as a general approach, solvers should keep in mind real-world first responder scenarios related to indoor environments. In fact, it might be beneficial for teams to consider collaboration or feedback from local first responders to ensure that they are responsive to typical scenarios. There will be first responder choice awards given as part of the Challenge. You should also review the official rules and the Stage 3 requirements.

37 05/11/22 Terms and Conditions

PSCR is focused on developing innovations in UAS technology for first responders. There are no additional requirements of the winners following the Challenge and they maintain the intellectual property. PSCR would like to see solvers move to commercialization of their products, but that is beyond the scope of the Challenge. There may be grants or other prize challenges that may be helpful to solvers after the Challenge is completed.

38 05/11/22 Requirements

The main output is the video file and the flight telemetry. There is no requirement to map out the environment.

39 09/07/22 Submission

While extra UAS features and operator capabilities will not be quantitatively applied to the scoring, they will be viewed favorably and judges have some latitude for incorporating additional feedback into the review process. Keep in mind that first responders will determine the winners for the First Responder Choice awards in Stage 3. Please refer to the Challenge Rules.

40 09/07/22 Requirements

This is not a requirement, but it is strongly encouraged, especially since the challenge scenario and use case is First Responder-related. Stage 2 winners will have 6 months to design and build in addition to opportunities to engage with First Responder experts during Office Hours. It should also be noted that First Responders will be involved in the judging and there will be two First Responder Choice awards in the final stage.

41 09/07/22 Requirements

Procedural challenge rule questions should be forwarded to You will receive a copy of this slide deck as well as the recording of this webinar. Stage 2 winners will also have office hour opportunities. Questions can be sent anytime before 7 days before each submission deadline (Stage 2.1: October 7, 2022 and Stage 2.2: February 17, 2023) to You may also ask questions specific to your design or prototype during Office Hours. To be fair and equitable, general challenge questions will be posted to the FAQ section of the challenge website.

42 09/07/22 Live Event

It will be in the continental United States. More specific information will be provided during Stage 2.2. All teams should tentatively plan to arrive for the Stage 3 live event on Monday, May 1 and compete May 2-4, 2023.

43 09/07/22 Live Event

More details will be forthcoming at the start of Stage 2.2. The aim is to provide an agnostic design. Since First Responders need to be able to operate in a variety of scenarios, the UAS should be able to operate in a GPS-denied environment.

44 09/07/22 Live Event

We will provide additional Information about the competition environment at the start of Stage 2.2. Our plan is to create an environment showcasing the UAS and what you claim in your documentation, such as operating in darkness or maneuvering around debris. We are not going to add additional obstacles outside the challenge scope, such as moving objects.

45 09/07/22 Terms and Conditions

There is no formal opportunity. However, there are several informal opportunities which include access to experts at the live event; and an opportunity for winners to present at the NIST PSCR annual public safety conference. PSCR is also open to having a discussion with winners regarding their product and potential business opportunities.

09/07/22 Terms and Conditions

NIST is not familiar of any current grants related to this work.

46 09/07/22 Terms and Conditions

It is not required. The challenge is designed with iterative prizes. Stage 1 winners received $5,000 to start planning their UAS design and are eligible for additional prizes across two milestones of $7,500 each for a potential total of $15K in Stage 2. This is before the final prize awards in Stage 3.

47 09/07/22 Terms and Conditions

A prize challenge is a different structure than a contract or grant where the prize is offered at the end of the Challenge. The prize awards provided during the interim stages are designed to help offset some of the risk and the $5,000 Stage 1 prize is a reward for the concept paper that was submitted. You are now competing for the next level of prizes so, it is not funding for work to be performed like a contract or grant, rather, it is a prize for work done and an opportunity to win more.

48 09/07/22 Terms and Conditions

Stage winners are eligible to receive interim prize awards for meeting milestones. There are a variety of final prize awards (1st-5th place) and six (6) Best-in-Class awards. Please refer to the Challenge Rules for details. In addition to the monetary prizes, the Challenge offers some technical assistance as well as opportunities to promote the work and accomplishments.

49 09/07/22 Terms and Conditions

That is a decision that will be determined by the judges, if needed, and be based on the challenge rules.

50 09/26/22 Requirements

Yes, they should be included if such equipment is needed to operate your drone.

If you have additional questions, please send them to

Implemented by       Capital Consulting Corporation    KSU at Salina           |       Supported by       NIST | PSCR

Implemented by Capital Consulting Corporation & Kansas State University – Salina, Supported by NIST & PSCR