The First Responder Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Endurance prize competition from NIST PSCR invites innovators to bring their ingenuity and drone-building expertise to create a drone prototype for first responders. This is a 4-stage challenge, with prize awards up to $552,000 for the top designs. The most outstanding designs from Stage 1 will be eligible to participate in the remaining stages of the competition. The Stage 3 Walk-on Contestants will also be eligible to compete in Stage 4. The result of the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.
- UAS 1.0 Challenge Participant
The purpose of this Challenge is to advance UAS technologies by building and flying drones designed to support first responders. One of the barriers for the public safety community is having access to drones that can fly for long periods of time, ninety minutes or greater, while carrying a heavy payload. Emergency responders can accomplish their mission more efficiently and effectively if the drone flight time for a known payload is maximized. Since the payload capacity, energy source, flight characteristics, and flight time are linked together through design trade-offs, PSCR is exploring ways to optimize drones for increased flight endurance while making it more efficient and flexible for use by public safety.
Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UASs provide many different mission capabilities, but their flight time is limited. This challenge explores the design trade-offs that will keep a UAS, and its payload, airborne for the longest time possible while supporting first responders on the ground while they conduct their mission. The advancement of UAS research achieved through this challenge will help support the development and operation of UAS that are intended to host critical tools for public safety missions, such as wireless communications systems.
To learn more about the challenge rules and details, go to challenge.gov.
Check back in June 2021 to learn about the Final Winners of the Challenge and see videos of their UAV prototypes!