UAV Challenge 2020 - Rules Announced

Every couple of years, Outback Joe gets himself into a difficult, life threatening (for a manikin) situation, and provides an opportunity to demonstrate what you and some colleagues are capable of achieving with a system of drones. The UAV Challenge.

For 2020, Outback Joe provides the greatest challenge yet: Teams are invited to develop a system that can fly at least 20km to Joe’s farm, can enter a shed, locate Joe, and provide a video and audio stream back to the emergency control centre. Teams are encouraged to develop systems that can carry out the mission in a fully autonomous manner using Type 2 Autonomy. Teams must provide at least 5 minutes of continuous video and audio stream that clearly shows Joe and allows emergency service personnel to attempt to talk to Joe.

@tridge , @stephendade, @gmorph, myself and the rest of the team at CanberraUAV intend to be there again, pushing and expanding the limits of ArduPilot. We know that many more of you are capable of achieving (and exceeding) the Challenge - and we’d love to meet more of this Community in Dalby next year. Accept the Challenge! Build, Fly, Rescue, Repeat.


(I forgot @peterbarker but in my defence, he is kinda forgettable…)

Hi James

The new round of UAV challenge looks interesting, but I’m wondering if the “challenge” might be going one step back given they want to now have a long range, to the ground, live stream video feed instead of more mission autonomy.

I’m not quite sure if developing that type of technology falls within the scope of most previous teams capabilities, or if it is really a “UAV” objective, given the RF compliance issues etc for developing RF tech. Off the shelf long range wifi would work with one aircraft acting as a relay, but that’s hardly a “development”. There are some other non-4G mobile phone RF solutions out there but I find it a bit hard to reconcile the RF challenge objective with reality, and the tech that is being rolled out as we speak like Starlink. No-data coverage areas are very likely to be a thing of the past within the next 3-5 years, and the need for proprietary UAV or ground to ground datalink systems will evaporate. Joe or anything near him will have worldwide coverage even if he is in the middle of nowhere.

I suppose the other components of the challenge are a little more appropriate for the challenge, like traffic avoidance, but given that a vehicle can fly into the shed so long it weighs less than 2kg and has no dimension greater than 800mm, I’d expect nearly any fixed wing acting as the long distance ride and RF relay for a small quadcopter would do the trick, seeing neither have to return to base anymore. Otherwise an airborne RF relay and a modded sub-2kg mozzie type VTOL aircraft could already do the rest. A wheeled or tracked buggy somehow seems superfluous. As such I think the UAV performance part of the challenge seems inherently much easier than any previous challenge.

I suppose the question is; will CUAV finally retire combustion engine aircraft, and succumb to the rapidly evolving electric propulsion age with this new challenge, given the meager 20km flight range now required? :slight_smile:

Well ahem, The Lake Victoria Challenge stretch goal is an 80km fully electric VTOL delivery #justsaying (Wingcopter are actually already doing it) But now I have had a dig.

HURRAH for the OBC the world’s finest RPAS competiton!

I have a feeling all the bits that look easy on paper will prove the downfall of teams.

I was hoping for flights into Vertiport Africa.
Maybe next year?