New $500,000 UAS Competition Announced by NASA


NASA has announced a new UAS contest that I think might interest people here. It is called the UAS Airspace Operations Challenge and it's being developed as part of NASA's Centennial Challenge Program. Our goal is to hold the competition in the Fall of 2013 and the total amount of prize money available at that time will be $500,000. If the 2013 competition goes well, it will be followed by a tougher competition in 2014 with $1,000,000 in prize money. We're announcing it now, along with a preliminary draft of the rules, to get feedback and ideas from the UAS community and to see if any organizations are interested in partnering with us to run the competition. The rules are incomplete because there are many details that still need to be worked out and we want to be able to improve things based upon your feedback. 

This is your chance to give us your ideas on how we can structure this competition to foster significant progress toward solving the technical challenges to integrating unmanned aircraft into the U.S. National Airspace System. The web page lists the kind of information we are looking for and how to submit official feedback to NASA. There is a link to the draft rules on that page. 


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  • @elad, ACAS is a system but still need human input to avoid other traffic. If it can be integrated with autopilot in UAVs it's great!

    It s a lot of work to do but I think people here did most of those requirement esp Tridge.

  • Does anyone have any info concerning how this effort is related to the FAA strategy for UAS?

  • I wonder how big their CFGPS is going to be.  Its programming time!

  • I wonder if they could have an "international" division of the competition that removes the ITAR parts of the main competition. I'd love to be involved in this competition too!

  • Sounds like a great use for a bunch of networked X-plane simulators running APM in HIL-mode with the sense-and-avoid module barking waypoint orders to the APM.
  • Moderator

    Ah but be careful if you have any ideas in America they could be subject to ITAR so rather you move to Australia and do the work Bill and then take it back.

    Looks like 4DT and ADS-B are going to be minimums over there.

  • T3

    Hi Tridge,

    I am a US citizen. Why don't you come on over and live with me for a while (we have a guest apartment available), we can work on it together. ;-)

    Best regards,


  • Developer

    If that mockup of the CFGPS is accurate then they must be contemplating huge aircraft - much larger than is typically flown by hobbyists.

    Other than that, this competition looks interesting. Implementing sense and avoid and support for ADS-B is the sort of thing we've been thinking about in CanberraUAV.

    It certainly is annoying that they only allow US residents. If someone wants to enter an ArduPlane based system into the competition then I think it would be possible, although it will be a lot of work. There would need to be a lot of new features added, especially in the area of 4DT mission planning.

    Cheers, Tridge

  • Moderator


    It seems that only US residents or citizens can apply, Good luck from north of the border! We can still watch all the fun!


  • Moderator

    That's what all the talk of ADS-B is sort of about.

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