The Australian based UAV challenge, sponsored and organized by QUT and CSIRO, is designed to push unmanned aerial vehicle technology to the limit. The 2016 iteration poses a scenario where a hiker is stuck in an open in the Australian Outback, surrounded by floodwaters, but must send out blood blood samples for emergency medical evaluation.
Competing teams will have the GPS coordinates of said hike, however the area will be surrounded by obstacles. Teams will need to develop systems capable of understanding the landing site, and execute a planned landing. Once the hiker has placed his blood sample into the aircraft, the UAV must take off and fly back to its starting point
Teams will need to factor in an extended flying range since the destination will be at least 10km from their starting location, meaning a total 20km for a return journey.
CSIRO engineers say that it is unlikely that traditional fixed-wing unmanned aircraft or small multi-rotor vehicles will be able to meet the challenge, so competitors will need to use hybrid flying robots.
UAV Challenge co-founder Professor Jonathan Roberts, a QUT robotics expert with the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, is not expecting a winner in the first year of the new competition - but is happy to be proven wrong. The winner will be awarded AU$50,000.