As many may already know the new rules for the 2018 Medical Express Challenge were released over the weekend and registrations for the event are now open and due by the 30th August 2017 .
More information is available here:
The main change is the addition of a “Emergency Landing Target” which can be used to find the right place to land near Joe, as demonstrated in the video above.
This essentially means teams can, if they choose to do so, focus on finding the target placed by Joe, but not Joe himself. It also means there’s a higher likelihood of landing safely at the remote site and avoiding obstacles. Although no guarantees are given the assumption is Joe would not place the target somewhere it is not possible to land safely. Especially considering that he wants the blood sample to be collected and returned for testing.
If using Aruco or April tags, range information can also be deduced for a controlled decent without requiring a rangefinder. By using a specific pattern it’s also typically easier to spot and identify the target with certainty from a moving vehicle, rather than trying to spot a standing Joe of unknown proportions or by specific color, without knowing for sure if the Joe is in fact the Joe you are looking for.
This is what the target looks like flying at 60kmh at 50m AGL using 4k video.
There is also some clarification of the comms requirements, that can be helpful in reducing the required systems onboard, and how “pubic infrastructure” can be used in the event. Apparently, also including VPN services for relaying telemetry over mobile networks. Team specific infrastructure needs to be located onsite, so I’d confirm with organizers if the specific setup being planned is allowed to be used, well in advance of attending the event.
There are also some fairly important definitions in the FAQ that should be considered if a team chooses to use more than one aircraft in the event, in particular that the mission is only deemed completed by rule 1.11 if all aircraft return and land intact at base. This is despite the fact that a points deduction is given for any lost aircraft, which might be misconstrued that one can still complete and win the challenge with only one aircraft returning to base.