Ford issues $100000 challenge for developers to create drone to vehicle communication system

Here's the :Link

The news release said, "CEO Mark Fields said a goal is to set up a system, for example, where a United Nations emergency worker could launch a drone from an F-150 to survey a disaster scene.

“A drone will actually have the coordinates and be able to then land back into the bed of the F-150, even though it’s in another location,” Fields told WWJ Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert.

The rapidly deployable surveying system ideally would work like this: A response team would drive an F-150 as far as possible into an emergency zone caused by an earthquake or tsunami. Using the Ford SYNC touch screen, the driver could identify a target area and launch a drone through an app. The drone would follow a flight path over the zone, capturing video and creating a map of survivors with associated close-up pictures of each.

Using the driver’s smartphone, the F-150 would establish a real-time link between the drone, the truck and the cloud, so vehicle data can be shared. Data will be relayed to the drone so the driver can continue to a new destination, and the drone will catch up and dock with the truck."

Anybody interested in working on this challenge? 

Views: 1768

Comment by Thomas Stone on January 5, 2016 at 9:54pm

It looks like the primary challenge is "Automatic landing on a moving vehicle". I like that.

If I find some time, I might try it out with some APM-based gear and IR-LOCK..... Anybody want to contribute the F-150? :)

Comment by earthpatrol on January 5, 2016 at 10:18pm

Ford trying to be relevant or hope to get in on the drone hype. How about an off-road motorcycle with a drone deployed from a backpack? Seems more practical. Landing in a moving vehicle is a cool challenge, just not sure about why it would need to be a Ford F-150? Now if the F-150 transformed into an aircraft, that would be interesting. :) Didn't BMW or somebody else also do drone/car associations(skateboards too)?

What happened to the Lily? Maybe they have it solved? More fodder for

Comment by earthpatrol on January 5, 2016 at 10:29pm

I think the Portlandia folks need to do a follow-up to their "Put a bird on it" episode, with "Put a drone on it."

Comment by Jimmy Oliver on January 5, 2016 at 11:22pm

@thomas - If you could integrate Mission Planner into the Sync touchscreen you could run the drone from inside a car. Maybe a remote to fly manually to zoom in and out on cam. I would like to help. I have a BAE systems zoomable IR camera that I can donate to the testing. I'd love to help. I have parachutes I've built and drops systems for small packages of aid.

Comment by Nicholas Witham on January 5, 2016 at 11:26pm

Isn't there a "Boat mode" in the works?, which enables the aircraft to comeback to the pilot, and not back to launch.

Their scope looks easy enough though. Aren't the ford systems now based on android, so putting tower on it should be possible, and hopefully there would be an accessible USB port or something that can communicate with a modem for communication.

I reckon there wouldn't need to be any other phones or whatever to view the photos.

Comment by Oleksandr Kryshchenko on January 6, 2016 at 12:17am

FYI this challenge is for DJI Guidance, Manifold and M100 quad that will be provided for selected candidates. So now easy task doesn't seems that easy anymore :)

Comment by Thomas Stone on January 6, 2016 at 6:27am


Many thanks. However, as Oleksandr mentioned, the competition requires using the DJI platform. You can see all of the competition details here:


I am curious to see the actual rules package. It seems like they want some of the navigation to be handled by vision sensors, rather than GPS... Even if they mark the truck w/ GPS, the fully automated landing on a small, moving area is still a challenging problem. I would like to watch the attempts. :)

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 6, 2016 at 6:29am

Yep.  This is for DJI only.  Rather disappointing on Ford.  Makes the whole competition uninteresting.

Who would even think about using a DJI system for real Search and Rescue?  They're just toys.  Just taking advantage of hype IMO.

Comment by Patrick Duffy on January 6, 2016 at 6:36am

What DJI only?  I guess I should have read the fine print. It could still be interesting to do the challenge with a real platform not limited to a toy.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 6, 2016 at 7:44am

We could always make it a T3 competition and move the decimal point across on the prize money to 1 or $10 I guess ten would buy some beer in most places in the world!


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service