Can You Design, Build and Fly the Next-Generation UAV?

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play a critical role in modern military operations. The next generation of these aerial robotic systems needs to have enhanced takeoff and landing capabilities, better endurance, require less support equipment and be adaptable to mission needs in varying conditions.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Atlantic (SSC Atlantic) call on innovators of every kind; scientists, engineers, citizen scientists and dreamers to collaborate on the UAVForge Challenge and win $100,000 USD.

The UAVForge challenge uses crowdsourcing to build small UAVs through an exchange of ideas and design practices. The goal is to build and test a user-intuitive, backpack-portable UAV that can quietly fly in and out of critical environments to conduct sustained surveillance for up to three hours.

According to Jim McCormick, DARPA program manager, “The UAVForge crowd-sourced approach seeks to capture and mature novel ideas and systems integration methods from communities outside the traditional DoD acquisition process.”

Self-selected teams will participate in a series of peer-reviewed milestones where participant rating will identify the top ten teams that advance to the UAVForge Fly-Off Competition. During the competition, vehicles will be tested in a simulated high-stress surveillance mission.

“This is a fascinating challenge and the solution space is wide open,” explained McCormick. “We’re excited to see what innovative ideas emerge, so we’re trying to give individuals and teams lots of time to develop their concepts prior to the initial design submission date planned for late this fall.”

The winning team will be awarded $100,000 and the opportunity to showcase its design in an overseas military exercise. Additionally, the winning team will work with a government-selected UAV manufacturer to produce a limited quantity of systems for future warfighter experimentation.

Source: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

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