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2021 First Responder UAS Triple Challenge

Icon of a drone leaving a flightpath behind. Text reads: First Responder UAS Triple Challenge. Speed. Resilience. Security.

The First Responder Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Triple Challenge from NIST PSCR served to help save lives faster and support advancing first responder search and rescue (SAR) operations. With a total of up to $720K in awards, this competition was comprised of three challenges with three different focus areas — all aimed at advancing UAS technology to support critical, lifesaving missions.

As with every UAS challenge, the aim of this challenge was to help ensure that our nation's first responders have access to the latest in UAS technology. Prize recipients were determined by a panel of judges, assisted by a team of subject matter experts, through each stage of the competitions. For the most up-to-date contest information, refer to the contestant page here: https://www.uastriplechallenge.com/.

NIST PSCR First Responder UAS Triple Challenge Launch
NIST PSCR First Responder UAS Triple Challenge Launch
The First Responder UAS Triple Challenge is being hosted by NIST’s PSCR Division and managed by Kansas State University, in partnership with Mississippi State University. 

Stage 3 Winners Announced!

Challenge 3.1: FastFind Stage 3 Live Demonstration Winners

Award Winner Amount
1st Place Team AMAV from University of Maryland $40,000
2nd Place Team ARCC from Penn State University $20,000
3rd Place Team Aggie from NCAT/Purdue University $10,000
First Responder's Choice Award Team AMAV from University of Maryland $5,000

Challenge 3.2: LifeLink Stage 3 Live Demonstration Winners

Award Winner Amount
1st Place Team ARCC from Penn State University $40,000
2nd Place Team Mantech/FLYT Aerospace $20,000
3rd Place Team EpiSci $10,000
First Responder's Choice Award Team ARCC from Penn State University $5,000

Challenge 3.3: Shields Up! Stage 3 Live Demonstration Winners

Winner Amount
CNA Corporation and RIIS LLC $30,000
ManTech / FLYT Aerospace $30,000
ARCC - Pennsylvania State University $30,000

Challenge Background

The theme of the Challenge was carefully selected to describe each of the three unique challenge goals.

Challenge 3.1: FastFind

Total Award: $260K

The first challenge (FastFind) focused on increasing the speed of search and rescue operations where direct visual contact with a potential subject may be obscured. Learn more.

Challenge 3.2: LifeLink

Total Award: $260K

The second challenge (LifeLink) centered on the resilience of network connectivity in remote areas where access to network connectivity may be denied. Learn more.

Challenge 3.3: Shields Up!

Total Award: $200K

The third challenge (Shields Up!) related to enhancing the security of both command and control as well as navigational communications between the drone and its ground station. Learn more.

The First Responder UAS Triple Challenge was hosted by NIST’s PSCR Division and managed by Kansas State University, in partnership with Mississippi State University. Each challenge may be found on Challenge.gov:

Created July 13, 2021, Updated June 28, 2022