NIST PSCR is hosting a four-stage First Responder UAS 3D Mapping Challenge (UAS 5.0) with prize awards of up to $987,500. The goal of this challenge is for contestants to design, build, and operate a cost-effective UAS solution with one or more autonomous or semi-autonomous uncrewed aerial vehicles, and with or without the support of ground robotic vehicles. This challenge builds off the First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge (known as UAS 4.0) to provide enhanced situational awareness and image detection for first responders prior to entering a building. Successful solutions will provide an accurate, high-quality 3D map in real-time to locate missing person(s) and life-threatening obstacles in an indoor, low-light, GPS-denied, or otherwise constrained environment using a technological mapping method (e.g., simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)). This UAS prototype solution must be easy to operate, durable, and provide first responders with a high-quality 3D digital map in real-time to detect human life, obstacles, and hazardous objects in the environment.
There is an urgent need to provide real-time situational awareness to first responders in indoor environments that have been compromised by severe damage due to fire, flood, structural collapse, and other potentially dangerous situations. UAS 4.0 addressed this need by developing a cost-effective uncrewed vehicle that can be used by Incident Command in a constrained environment. However, more can be done to improve UAS as a tool for first responders. Public safety would find a three-dimensional (3D) map of an indoor environment that precisely locates obstacles, damaged structures, people, and other areas or points of interest in real-time or near real-time useful. At present, such a UAS solution is not commercially available at a low cost to support public safety budgets or comply with national security requirements, such as efforts being addressed by Defense Innovation Unit (DIU)’s Blue UAS Cleared List and by the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)’s Green UAS Cleared List.
The following are the challenge’s primary objectives:
The most outstanding Stage 1 solution concepts will be eligible to participate in the remaining stages and compete in a live event. Award winners from the live event will be eligible to apply and enter a four-month solution accelerator to improve market readiness or further contribute to UAS research.
Please refer to the graphics below for specific key dates and prize amounts. For the most up-to-date contest information, including signing up for challenge updates, visit firstresponderuaschallenge.org/uas5. For official challenge rules, please visit https://www.challenge.gov/?challenge=uas5.
The following winners each received $15,000 in prize awards (including $5,000 for Stage 3 live event travel) and an invitation to participate in Stage 3: Live Test & Evaluation:
The following winners each received $12,500 in prize awards and an invitation to participate in Stage 2.2: Prototype Build & Safety Evaluation:
The following finalists each received an invitation to participate in Stage 2.2: Prototype Build & Safety Evaluation:
The following winners each received $7,500 in prize awards and an invitation to participate in Stage 2.1: Design Review:
The First Responder UAS 3D Mapping Challenge is being hosted by NIST’s PSCR Division and managed by Capital Consulting Corporation, in partnership with Kansas State University, Salina, KS.
To find out more information about the challenge, visit https://www.challenge.gov/?challenge=uas5.