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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Submission

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

3 03/24/23 Submission

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

4 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 D of the Official Rules.

6 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 D of the Official Rules.

9 03/24/23 Requirements

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

10 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Requirements

Yes. The Table D 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.

14 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Requirements

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

16 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Contestant Teaming

There is no limit to the number of team members.

19 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Contestant Teaming

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

24 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Live Event

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

26 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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.

33 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 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.

36 03/24/23 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 03/24/23 Terms and Conditions

PSCR is focused on developing innovations in UAS technology for first responders. Stage 4 of this Challenge is an opportunity for contestants to work with a public safety partner and gain additional support for their solution accelerator goals, including commercialization of their products.

38 03/24/23 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 award in Stage 3. Please refer to the Challenge Rules.

39 03/24/23 Requirements

Contestants will be required to develop a public safety partnership as part of their Stage 4.2. plan. While it is not a requirement for other Stages, we strongly encourage early relationship-building as the challenge scenario and use case is First Responder-related. There will be an opportunity to engage with First Responder experts during Office Hours in Stage 2. It is also important to note that during Stage 3, there is a First Responder Choice Award.

40 03/24/23 Requirements

Procedural challenge rule questions should be forwarded to There will also be a webinar orientation, and the recording and slide deck will be provided on this site. Stage 2 winners will also have office hour opportunities. Questions can be sent anytime prior to 7 days before each submissions deadline. To be fair and equitable, general challenge questions will be posted to the FAQ section of the challenge website.

41 03/24/23 Live Event

It will be in the continental United States. More specific information will be provided during Stage 2.2.

42 03/24/23 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.

43 03/24/23 Terms and Conditions

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

44 03/24/23 Terms and Conditions

It is not required. The challenge is designed with iterative prizes. Stage 1 winners received $7,500 to start planning their UAS design and are eligible for additional prizes across two milestones for a potential total of $22.5K and a travel prize of $5k in Stage 2 that can be used to attend the Stage 3.0 Live Event. Travel to the NIST laboratory or test site for Phase 4.2 is the responsibility of the contestant but can come out of prior prize awards.

45 03/24/23 Terms and Conditions

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

46 03/24/23 Requirements

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

47 05/17/23 Requirements

Yes, the Final Event at the NIST Laboratory or test site is a requirement of this Stage. Contestants are responsible for the travel costs to the final event.

48 05/19/23 Requirements

No. Stage 1 of the NIST 5.0 Challenge is open to all eligible contestants. Please see the rules for eligibility requirements. For later stages, there is a down-select approach limiting entry to winners of the prior stage. However, there is a walk-on opportunity in Stage 2.2 where new contestants are able to participate towards a prize and being invited to the Live Event.

49 05/30/23 Requirements

The Bill of Materials (BOM) is a record of the actual costs incurred for the complete build of the system. The minimum requirement is a build that’s less than $20,000, and teams may be eliminated from advancing beyond Stage 1 if over $20,000. Teams that make it to Stage 3 can gain extra points for every dollar that is less than $20,000, with the most points given for systems reaching $10,000 or less.

50 05/30/23 Requirements

During Stages 1 and 2 of the challenge, Additional Preferred Capabilities are not used to eliminate any teams. During Stage 3, extra points can be gained but not lost by having an Additional Preferred Capability.

51 05/30/23 Requirements

We are NOT looking for UAS in this competition to be Blue or Green UAS Compliant. Rather, we are interested in having teams find innovative ways to secure their system based on some of the requirements in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 848. This is an Additional Preferred Capability and teams can gain more points in Stage 3 if they can demonstrate one or several of these features. Although Blue UAS is designed for military applications, their website describes the policy and features in plain language.

52 05/30/23 Requirements

We can assist with finding a local public safety agency with experience using drones. Please reach out using the “Contact Us” on the challenge website.

53 05/30/23 Requirements

We ask that license fees or software subscriptions (minimum six months) be included in your bill of materials. Contestants may use open-source, commercial, or customized software. If using open-source or commercial software, you must comply with terms of service and user agreements.

54 05/30/23 Requirements

The contest indoor environment will simulate a real-world, constrained environment, so pathways will not be guaranteed for a ground vehicle. Contestants using ground and aerial vehicles should explore options for removing or navigating around debris and obstacles.

55 05/30/23 Requirements

The solution does not require a ground robot. In Table D, the minimum is to have one aerial vehicle; however, teams can choose to have an additional vehicle (ground or aerial) to enhance their system and take advantage of other specifications listed in Table D. Teams with multiple vehicles may gain extra points for the additional vehicle if they can demonstrate a successful operation using both vehicles, but there will be a trade-off of functionality and cost where other points are derived. Please review Table D in the official rules and the Stage 3 Evaluation Criteria for how to gain the most points in the live event.

56 05/30/23 Requirements

There is no standard format. The intent is for the system to be able to share the data with first responders on the scene. The information/data should be presentable in a clear and actionable manner through widely available devices such as a video display, computer, headset, etc. The 3D map must be delivered on portable media storage (e.g., USB drive, SD card).

57 05/30/23 Requirements

High school students have participated in past challenges. The rules require that the Official Representative of the team must be at least 18 years old and meet all other eligibility requirements. Refer to the terms and conditions in the official challenge rules.

58 05/30/23 Requirements

Each stage has different evaluation criteria, which is defined in the official challenge rules. For example, the concept paper in Stage 1 must define the strategic alignment, technical outcome, feasibility, and team skills are the evaluation criteria.

59 05/30/23 Requirements

The requirement is that ‘no more than two UAS operators and support personnel’ are needed to operate the system. You may take advantage of autonomous functionality but keep in mind that, in the live event, you can have a maximum of two people to demonstrate your solution in the simulated environment.

60 05/30/23 Requirements

The Official Representative for the team must either be a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident, 18 years of age or older. Team members do not need to comply with this requirement.. Refer to the Eligibility Requirements listed in the terms and conditions in the official challenge rules.

61 05/30/23 Requirements

No, that is not required.

62 05/30/23 Requirements

No, an individual can only be a member of one team in this challenge. Each contestant team will be asked to complete the official eligibility document that lists all team members before Stage 1 results are announced.

63 05/30/23 Requirements

Yes, you may use off-the-shelf parts. The UAS must not be a completely unaltered commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) UAS, as the intent of the challenge is to design a UAS that is purpose-built to the objectives and requirements of the challenge.

64 09/07/23 Requirements

Blue or Green UAS is a term used by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and adapted by AUVSI, respectively. For this competition, we have not made Blue/Green UAS compliance a requirement. However, teams may opt to gain extra points as this is a preferred capability, and the scoring will be based on reviewing the bill of materials (BOM) worksheet and other documentation rather than a formal compliance check. The elaboration document provides more detail about this preferred capability.

65 09/07/23 Requirements

Yes, this is one example of your UAS’s ability for object detection in a real-world scenario.

66 09/07/23 Requirements

There is no minimum flight time requirement, and the UAS can return to the launch point for battery swap. However, lower flight times will make it difficult to promptly provide quality mapping, and multiple trips may require stitching maps together.

67 09/07/23 Requirements

This final video from the First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge (UAS 4.0) includes examples of flight stability. It is important to know that there will be no GPS access, and the environment will be constrained by debris or ceiling/ground obstructions.

68 09/07/23 Requirements

Although that is a nice added feature to highlight for first responder use cases, and potentially for the Best-in-Class award in stage 3, there will not be extra points applied to the scoring criterion.

69 09/07/23 Requirements

Although that is a nice added feature to highlight for first responder use cases, and potentially for the Best-in-Class award in stage 3, this is not expected. Please refer to the challenge use case and the minimum required capabilities in Table D: UAS Design Specifications.

70 09/07/23 Requirements

No. It is important to note that the object detection may not be just a full human but also could be exposed limbs and other body parts.

71 09/07/23 Requirements

The primary UAS must have all the minimum capabilities, including 3D mapping and video capabilities, in Table D: UAS Design Specifications. Additional uncrewed vehicles may duplicate or support the primary vehicle.

72 09/07/23 Contestant Teaming

A full team must be formed by the stage 2.2 mandatory check-in. A new eligibility form must be submitted if the official or alternate representative has changed.

73 09/07/23 Live Event

These details haven’t been finalized but will be shared with ample time for teams to prepare accordingly

74 09/07/23 Live Event

Instructions on the conditions of the live event are in the first tab of the TPM workbook template. Smoke may be present.

75 09/07/23 Submission

Please refer to the operational use case for gaining real-time or near-real-time indoor situational awareness. If special software is needed to view and evaluate the 3D map deliverable, please provide a viewer or reference for downloadable software. Consult the elaboration document for additional information.

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