59 Go decisions for Medical Express Deliverable 1


The UAV Challenge Technical Committee can report that they have completed their deliberations regarding the Deliverable 1 (D1) technical reports from the 2016 Medical Express teams. In total, 59 teams were given a Go decision and progress to the next phase of the competition. Well done to those teams and bad luck to those that did not make it through.

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  • So only 5 teams fell through on D1 then, (from 64 to 59) which is a fairly high success rate.

    In my opinion D1 is more of a rule "entry test" rather than a real deliverable, but it does layout some of the basics. I think we'll see a much stricter D2, with many more causalities as they whittle down the numbers. I'm assuming D3 will be the hard part for many teams to get in enough flying hours for logs and I'd expect that those with the maximum of log hours to be on the top 20 short-list to make it through. It would be interesting to know how the judges will determine who gets through, and if it's based on points for the D2 and D3 (there were no points for D1). I dunno if "innovation" will score bonus points or not...but I'm hoping it does! It might be worth asking them to show how they score in detail.

    Five issues were raised amongst the teams being:

    • If you have a VTOL system, you need to ensure that you address the case of GPS failure during all modes of flight, especially hovering. How will you hover if you do not have GPS?

    • Consider the potential for multiple failures and how certain combinations of failures may require flight termination.

    • Please ensure that there is sufficient design information about your Flight Termination System in your D2 document so that the committee can confirm that it complies with the rules.

    • You MUST ensure that any radio systems that you use are LEGAL in Australia (you MUST check this yourselves). You are not required to report the full details regarding your RF transmitters until D3, but you will not be given a Go decision at D3 if you are using illegal frequencies or illegal radiated power levels.

    • Do not assume that aircraft will have reliable 3G or 4G mobile phone coverage during the mission. The mission may take place in an area of no, or poor mobile phone coverage.

    GPS loss on landing is possible and fairly is easy to solve and the multiple failures hints at streamlining systems, so if the proposed system is to complex and very interdependent, they might knock it down in D2 already. Safety will be first, which means big propeller helis etc might be targeted more than the alternatives. Flight termination needs to be rock solid, in comparison to last time they have more of an "advisory" approach in the rules but I wouldn't be fooled by that and make sure the aircraft is "locked down" without any chance of escaping the geofence no matter what fails. Frequencies shouldn't be to much of an issue for most teams but getting Australian relevant RF rules is crucial. 3G/4G comms can always be an issue, especially on high bandwidth links (we know that from experience!) but for telemetry it should be ok as a secondary system. Ground reception after landing remotely might be patchy though and nigh impossible over 10km for direct RF.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with the competition progress so far and am looking forward to seeing the other teams solution to the (mostly) airframe challenge. ;-)

    Regards JB

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