Home > 2016 UAV challenge will require long-range hybrid flying robots

2016 UAV challenge will require long-range hybrid flying robots

Editorial
article image ​QUT and CSIRO have raised the stakes for the UAV Challenge Medical Express 2016 competition.

QUT and CSIRO have raised the stakes for the UAV Challenge Medical Express 2016 competition.

The UAV Challenge is designed to push unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to the limit. The 2014 challenge was themed around an outback rescue mission.

The 2016 iteration poses a scenario where a bushwalker is stuck in a clearing in the Australian Outback, surrounded by floodwaters, but needs to send an urgent blood sample to his doctors.

While competing teams will have the GPS coordinates of said bushwalker, the area will be surrounded by obstacles. Teams will need to develop systems capable of understanding the landing site, and plan and execute a landing. Once the bushwalker has placed his blood sample into the aircraft, the UAV must take off and fly quickly back to its starting point.

Teams will need to factor in an extended flying range since the destination will be at least 10km from their starting location, meaning a total 20km for a return journey.

CSIRO engineers say that it is unlikely that traditional fixed-wing unmanned aircraft or small multi-rotor vehicles will be able to meet the challenge, so competitors will need to use hybrid flying robots.

The robot aircraft must locate Joe and automatically land nearby. After Joe places his blood sample into the aircraft, it must take off and fly quickly back to the town. The winner will be awarded AU$50,000.

UAV Challenge co-founder Professor Jonathan Roberts, a QUT robotics expert with the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, is not expecting a winner in the first year of the new competition - but is happy to be proven wrong.

The competition takes place in September 2016 in Outback Queensland, Australia. The full rules for the UAV Challenge Medical Express competition will be released in the coming weeks.

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