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The Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight and Payload Challenge

About the Challenge
Increase UAS flight time and versatility

Posted By: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Public Safety Communications Innovation Accelerator
Category: Designs, Scientific/Engineering
Skill: Engineering Interest: Public Safety Submission Dates: 3 p.m. ET, Jan 09, 2018 - 9 p.m. ET, Jan 29, 2018

Join us for this exciting UAS (unmanned aerial systems) prize competition using your ingenuity and hardware build expertise to create a concept for a UAS prototype. The result of the UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Flight and Payload Challenge will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.

One of the barriers for UAS used in a public safety realm is payload versus flight time. Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS provide many different mission capabilities, but their flight time is limited. The payload capacity, energy source and flight time are linked through design trade-offs that can be optimized for efficiency and flexibility. This challenge is designed to keep the UAS and its payload airborne for the longest time possible to support first responders’ communication technology on the ground while they conduct their search. The advancement of UAS research will help search and rescue operations support payloads for wireless communications or other life-saving goods to save lives.

NIST Public Safety Communications Research Program is hosting this 3-stage challenge, with prize awards totaling $432,000 (includes travel, prototype & cash prizes) for the top 10 designs.  In addition to the cash prize, finalists will showcase their UAS and flight skills with paid travel to the NIST Robotics Lab and the 2018 PSCR Stakeholder conference, where pilots will demonstrate their prototype, engage in speaking opportunities and network with 500+ attendees. There are no fees or qualifications needed to enter the first stage.  The Stage 1 winning ideas will be eligible for remaining stages of the competition. (see Official Rules)

You can make a difference!  Continue reading for contest stages and details.  To enter, submit your entry by clicking here, on the left side of the Challenge.gov posting by January 29, 2018.

 

PROGRAM EMAIL

For questions about the Challenge or Official Rules, contact PSprizes@nist.gov.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT DATES

Stage 1: CONCEPT PAPER CONTEST (open 1/8/18 – close 1/29/18)

Stage 2: STAGE 2: PROTOTYPING, HARDWARE BUILD, AND VIDEO TEST & EVALUATION CONTEST (open 2/5/18 – close 5/14/18)

Stage 3: LIVE TEST & EVALUATION CONTEST (open 5/20/18 – close 5/24/18)

 

Stages Contest Description Review Criteria Summary Number of Contestants Awards
1 Concept Papers Strategic Alignment & Technical Outcome; Feasibility & Team Open to all eligible contestants Invitation to introduction and challenge kickoff webinar.

$20,000 for each team of contestants or contestant entering the contest.

2 Prototyping, Hardware Build, and Video Test & Evaluation Hardware component review & UAS specification and safety review, minimum flight time and payload achieved. up to 10 Access to NIST Robotics Test facility for Live Test and Evaluation contest.

Up to $10,000 in invitational travel funding for each team of contestants or contestant entering the contest.

3 Live Test & Evaluation

 

UAS specification and

safety review, minimum flight time and payload achieved.

up to 10 First Place: $50,000

Second Place: $40,000

Third Place: $30,000

Up to $4,000 in invitational travel funding for each team of contestants or contestant entering the contest to demonstrate their work at the PSCR Annual Stakeholders Meeting in June 2018.

 

This document outlines the official rules for the UAS Flight and Payload Challenge. Nothing within this document or in any documents supporting the UAS Flight and Payload Challenge shall be construed as obligating the Department of Commerce, NIST or any other Federal agency or instrumentality to any expenditure of appropriated funds, or any obligation or expenditure of funds in excess of or in advance of available appropriations.

SUMMARY OF CONTESTS

The following is a summary of each contest. For more information, please review the full terms and conditions for each contest as provided throughout this document.

STAGE 1: Concept Paper Contest

The Concept Paper Contest invites all eligible contestants to complete a concept paper outlining their knowledge, skills, capabilities and approach for this challenge. Contestants’ concept papers will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts and judges who will select those contestants to be invited to the challenge kickoff webinar. Contestants selected by the judge panel will be eligible to move forward to the Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest.

STAGE 2: Prototyping, Hardware Build, and Video Test & Evaluation Contest

In this contest, the contestants will purchase or create the hardware necessary to implement the approach outlined within their concept paper. Contestants will purchase or create (for example, using 3D printing or machining) the hardware or parts necessary to build their prototype UAS to the specifications and required safety standards. Once the build is complete, contestants will be required to complete a series of Video Test & Evaluation flights designed to ensure the contestants complete minimum requirements for safety, hardware configuration, flight time and payload with their prototype UAS. Contestants who complete this stage successfully will receive an invitation to the NIST Robotics Test Facility and up to $10,000 in invitational travel funds to attend the final Live Test & Evaluation contest.

STAGE 3: Live Test & Evaluation Contest

The Live Test & Evaluation contest is the final contest of the series. Contestants will complete a series of live test flights to demonstrate their prototype UAS flight time and payload capabilities. All contestants UAS will be tested and evaluated. Contestants completing at least the minimum standards will be ranked and, based on those rankings, will receive up to $120,000 in award prizes. First place: $50,000, Second place: $40,000, and Third place: $30,000. In addition, up to $4,000 in invitational travel funding for each team of contestants or contestant entering the contest to demonstrate their work at the PSCR Annual Stakeholders Meeting in June 2018.

 

 

Judging Criteria

Criterion 1: Strategic Alignment & Technical Outcome - 50%

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

Strategic Alignment – The extent to which the proposed approach meets the objectives listed in the goals of the challenge; the responsiveness to the firefighter and law enforcement scenarios; the likelihood that successful implementation of the proposed solution will have a significant real-world impact.

Technical Outcome – Extent to which the proposed approach will result in significant improvement in commercially available technology and will potentially result in a technical outcome which enables considerable progress toward the challenge goals.

Criterion 2: Feasibility & Team - 50%

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

Team – The extent to which the capability of the contestant(s) can address all aspects of the proposed project with a high chance of success, including, but not limited to, qualifications, relevant expertise, and time commitment of the contestants. Reviewers will evaluate: (a) The relevance of the qualifications and experience of the key staff, leadership, and technical experts. (b) The extent of the applicants’ prior experience and the quality of the results achieved in leading programs similar in nature to the purpose, scope, etc.

Plan – Contestant(s) plan to manage the limited schedule, resources, project risks and other challenges, and produce high quality project outcomes, in pursuit of the challenge goals.

* SEE Official Rules for judging criteria associated with all other Stages of the contest

How to Enter
  • Visit Challenge.gov, to review the series of contests in the UAS Flight and Payload Challenge.
  • Complete the submission requirements for the Concept Paper Contest, submit the required concept paper and summary slide, and, as an option, include sketches or mock-up video with your entry as a registered contestant via Challenge.gov by the required date.
  • Additional information on how to complete a contestant entry is available at: https://www.challenge.gov/how-it-works/
  • One entry per qualified contestant.
Prizes
STAGE 1: CONCEPT PAPER CONTEST $200,000.00 Congratulations to the 10 winners of Stage 1: Team DV8 Tech - Team escAerospace - Team EndureAir - Team ACRG - Team ARS - Team PFA - Team IRISS - Team AmeriFly - Team SOAPdrones - Team MaxPran
STAGE 2: PROTOTYPING, HARDWARE BUILD, AND VIDEO TEST & EVALUATION Congratulations to the 3 winners of Stage 2: Team DV8 Tech - Team EndureAir - Team MaxPran
STAGE 3: LIVE TEST & EVALUATION $50,000.00 Congratulations to the $50k 1st Place winner: Team DV8 Tech! Stage 2 winners attended the final contest but only Team DV8 scored enough points to be eligible for an award! More information about the winning solutions will be posted at www.nist.gov/ctl/pscr/funding-opportunities

51 Discussions for "The Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight and Payload Challenge"

  • tmanley
    Thank you to everyone that completed an entry for this challenge! Our Judge panel have completed their decisions for Stage 1 and contestants have been notified. If you did not receive correspondence from the PSCR Open Innovation team, we want to thank you for your time and great ideas. Your interest and support will help advance the research for Public Safety and we encourage you to join upcoming Prize Challenges. Keep an eye on Challenge.gov or visit https://www.nist.gov/ctl/pscr/funding-opportunities/prizes-challenges . Thank you for your participation!

  • Show Replies [+]
    Thank you to everyone that completed an entry for this challenge! Our Judge panel met Friday and requested one extra day to make their final decisions regarding the top ten entries. We plan to contact contestants with the results tomorrow 2.6.18 by 12 noon MT / 2 pm ET.

    • Reply
      name confidential
      According the NIST website, updated 1/30/2018, the start of the next phase is 2/9/2018. https://www.nist.gov/ctl/pscr/open-innovation-prizes-challenges/unmanned-aerial-systems-flight-and-payload-challenge

  • Derek Richline
    If it weren't for the size requirement, I would build a blimp! With thrust vectoring and buoyancy compensation, it could definitely take off vertically and hover.

    • Reply
      tmanley
      Thank you but we received plenty of submissions. You may not be able to see the actual quantity. Keep an eye out for future Challenges!

    • Reply
      Ryan Boysen
      We did not see our proposal there either. However, if you are logged into the challenge.gov site, on the upper right, go to your name then "My Profile". Towards the bottom you should see "My Challenges" and "My Solutions" - If you click on My Solutions your submission should be shown there. Best of Luck!

  • Show Replies [+]
    tmanley
    If you are experiencing issues with submitting your design, the problem may be due to intermittent issues with the Challenge.gov database. If that's the case, please submit your Concept Paper via email to both psprizes@nist.gov and team@challenge.gov. Please put “UAS challenge” in the subject header of the email. If you have other questions, send them to psprizes@nist.gov

    • Reply
      bart massey
      Hello Mr. Manley, I wanted to see if there is a location to find out if our proposal was accepted. I do not see it in my profile. We had to email our solution in because it would not submit. A team member then asked me to email it and I did. I did not have the profile however initially. He did. I created one, but I am not certain if that worked for contacting me or if all involved on the team would be contacted. Thank you for your help! Bart

  • Show Replies [+]
    tmanley
    UAS/Drones SOLVERS! If you are interested in this amazing Challenge, and have a few last minute questions, please ask your questions on this discussion board or send an email to psprizes@nist.gov. GOOD LUCK with your submission!

  • tmanley
    UAS/Drones SOLVERS! If you are interested in this amazing Challenge, and have a few last minute questions, please ask your questions on this discussion board or send an email to psprizes.com. GOOD LUCK with your submission!

    • Reply
      tmanley
      Thank you for your inquiry. Please refer to the “Rules” posted on the left side of the Challenge.gov page. In the Rules, you will find the following statement about IP: SUBMISSION RIGHTS: Any applicable intellectual property rights to a submission will remain with the Contestant. By participating in the prize challenge, the Contestant is not granting any rights in any patents, pending patent applications, or copyrights related to the technology described in the Entry. If you have additional questions, please send them to psprizes@nist.gov.

    • Reply
      tmanley
      Thank you for the question. The Summary Slide is located on the PSCR website. It is a recommended format for your project summary but is not required. Here is the link: https://www.nist.gov/ctl/pscr/open-innovation-prizes-challenges/unmanned-aerial-systems-flight-and-payload-challenge

  • Show Replies [+]
    Seth Schwartz
    In reference to "Entire prototype UAS must fit within 6 ft. x 4ft. x3 ft., and weigh no more than 55 pounds (UAS + payload)" Is this fully assembled and ready to fly? Including any room for the propellers to spin? Or in a shipping/storage configuration? Thank you.

    • Reply
      tmanley
      The measurements for the UAS prototype are for a fully assembled system (control station, spare parts, tools, etc.). The UAS should fit within the volume specified when being shipped/stored and be ready to fly in a reasonably short time after it’s taken out of the shipping box. In other words, the propellers can be as large as you want but still fit inside the volume when not deployed. The ‘use case’ for this contest is a search and rescue operation where the size and weight are critical to the operation, both for flight and transport.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Shannon
    This is a shame, "Reviewers will evaluate: (a) The relevance of the qualifications and experience of the key staff, leadership, and technical experts. (b) The extent of the applicants’ prior experience and the quality of the results achieved in leading programs similar in nature to the purpose, scope, etc.". There are people out there with the knowledge and skills to excel with this challenge but will be overlooked because they do not have engineering degrees and/or experience.

    • Reply
      tmanley
      Your question is regarding Stage 1 only. We will not exclude contestants who do not carry an engineering degree or have substantial experience building a UAS however, the qualifications and experience of the participants are important factors to making a determination of the contestants ability to build a prototype for this contest. The criteria we’ve asked for in building the prototype is not standard, and we will only award 10 contestants for Stage 2, therefore, we must consider experience in our judging.

      • Reply
        DANIEL ENLOE
        Do judges need resumes in text inside the application, or are the URL links to the team members' linked-in profiles which are very detailed sufficient? thanks, Dan

      • Reply
        tmanley
        For Stage 1, this is a concept paper contest so evidence of your expertise in building quality UAS prototypes will be evident in the technical description and any supporting materials.

  • Show Replies [+]
    murray
    Rules regarding liability: "Contestants are required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in the amount of $1,000,000, before entering stage 2..." If a contestant were to enter stage 1 and receive a cash prize, but be ineligible for stage 2 because of the above quoted requirement, is said contestant ineligible for the stage 1 cash prize altogether?

    • Reply
      Gregory
      Thanks for telling me, with taxes and repaying the insurance premium a contestant will have about 12K to build and integrate device.

      • Reply
        Brent
        My initial concern was the $1,000,000 insurance requirement however, the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) offers members a $2.5 mil liability umbrella for $75/yr. Not sure if they'd cover this kind of event however, it's a start instead of going to any insurance company and asking them to cover you for this kind of event.

        • Reply
          murray
          I made some inquiries and provided the rules of the contest, and had two companies tell me that their undersigners weren't willing to do it. Something about "the liability follows the drone," which means very little to me. The upshot is that standard business liability insurance is different, or so I was told.

        • Reply
          tmanley
          Here is a guide that is publicly available for all potential contestants to use as they assess the potential cost of insurance that will be required for stage 2 and stage 3 of the challenge. https://uavcoach.com/drone-insurance-guide/ Reminder: It is important to focus on liability insurance only. Insurance for other things, such as the value of the UAV etc, is not required. It may be good to have but it is not required. Contestants only need coverage to insure that any damage they cause is covered. The cost of the policy will be based on the experience of the pilot, the configuration of the UAV, and the organization owning the policy which all can reduce or increase the cost.

    • Reply
      tmanley
      This is correct, contestants are required to demonstrate their financial responsibility, via liability insurance, before collecting $20,000 to build the prototype in Stage 2. The reason for the insurance is to protect you and other from death, bodily injury or property damage, or loss. The flight contest will be held on Government property. Please review the “Liability and Insurance” section posted on the last page of the Rules.

    • Reply
      tmanley
      The expectation is that contestants currently hold liability insurance for your UAS activities to protect you and others for any damage caused. If you need to purchase insurance for this contest, our research has shown that liability insurance for a UAS is substantially less than what you’ve estimated. If you have specific questions, please send your questions to psprizes@nist.gov

Add to the Discussion

Rules

 

 

OFFICIAL RULES OF CONCEPT PAPER CONTEST (Stage 1)

Introduction:

The Concept Paper Contest invites all eligible contestants to complete a concept paper outlining their knowledge, skills, capabilities and approach for this challenge. Contestants’ concept papers will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts and judges who will select those contestants to be invited to the challenge kickoff webinar. Contestants selected by the judge panel will be eligible to move forward to the Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest.

All eligible contestants are encouraged to submit completed concept papers for review.

Important Dates:

Link to Program Schedule 1

How To Enter:

  • Visit Challenge.gov, to review the series of contests in the UAS Flight and Payload Challenge.
  • Complete the submission requirements for the Concept Paper Contest, submit the required concept paper and summary slide, and, as an option, include sketches or mock-up video with your entry as a registered contestant via Challenge.gov by the required date.
  • Additional information on how to complete a contestant entry is available at: https://www.challenge.gov/how-it-works/

UAS Concept Design Specifications

Aircraft entered will be subject to the following requirements and limitations:

  • Must not be a completely unaltered commercial off-the-shelf UAS; the intent of the challenge is to design a UAS that is customized for the specific flight time and payload requirements of the challenge;
  • Must be capable of autonomous and human controlled flight;
  • Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS with the ability to hover in place;
  • Must be free flying, no tethers;
  • Must include the interchangeable payload adapter for this challenge;
  • The payload adapter allows for the different weight payloads to be interchangeable for test flights. The payload adapter will include a 10 inch x 10 inch plate with 8020 aluminum extrusion rails attached to two opposite sides of the plate to attach the payload. The payload will extend up to 8 inches from the base plate. The design must include at least four points of connection to the 8020 rails to ensure the payload is safely secured. A detailed technical specification for the payload adapter will be provided to invited contestants in the Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest.
    • T-Slotted Aluminum Extrusions 10 inch long, with a 1 inch x 1 inch cross-section similar to this: https://8020.net/shop/1010-s.html
    • The aluminum extrusion rails must be secured to the UAV using a minimum of four (4) 1/4”-20 steel bolts (similar to https://8020.net/shop/3066.html) of appropriate lengths and four (4) corresponding 1/4”-20 T-Nuts (similar to https://8020.net/shop/3286.html).
    • The payload volume will be approximately 8 x 8 x 6 inches.
  • Must include a flight termination system or “kill switch” to end flight if necessary;
    • The UAS system must include an independent flight termination system (FTS) that can be remotely activated from the ground by pressing an “emergency stop button”. When remotely activated, the FTS must disconnect the power to the aircraft’s propulsion system (e.g., the motors). Optionally, the FTS may also activate other complementary systems (e.g., a parachute) in addition to disconnecting the power to the aircraft’s propulsion system.
  • UAS energy source must be safely integrated into the flight system (electric battery, liquid fuel, etc.);
  • Entire prototype UAS must fit within 6 ft. x 4ft. x3 ft., and weigh no more than 55 pounds (UAS + payload);
  • Must have continuous radio communication with the UAS Controller and be capable of multiple channels or frequencies; and
    • As part of the envisioned scenario, a remotely-controlled UAS is expected to use a wireless connection (or radio link) between the controller and/or flight computer and the aircraft. The UAS may also be operating in the presence of other radio signals that could interfere with the wireless connection. In order to minimize potential interference, participants are required to use radios based on FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum).
  • Platform, on-board systems, and UAS controllers can be commercial, off the shelf or custom made but all components to the UAS system must be purchased or created within the $20,000 hardware budget allowed for each contestant.

Evaluation Criteria:

Concept Papers are evaluated based on the following criteria:

Criterion 1: Strategic Alignment & Technical Outcome (50%)

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

 

·         Strategic Alignment – The extent to which the proposed approach meets the objectives listed in the goals of the challenge; the responsiveness to the firefighter and law enforcement scenarios; the likelihood that successful implementation of the proposed solution will have a significant real-world impact.

·         Technical Outcome – Extent to which the proposed approach will result in significant improvement in commercially available technology and will potentially result in a technical outcome which enables considerable progress toward the challenge goals.

 

Criterion 2: Feasibility & Team (50%)

This criterion involves consideration of the following factors:

 

·         Team – The extent to which the capability of the contestant(s) can address all aspects of the proposed project with a high chance of success, including, but not limited to, qualifications, relevant expertise, and time commitment of the contestants. Reviewers will evaluate: (a) The relevance of the qualifications and experience of the key staff, leadership, and technical experts. (b) The extent of the applicants’ prior experience and the quality of the results achieved in leading programs similar in nature to the purpose, scope, etc.

·         Plan – Contestant(s) plan to manage the limited schedule, resources, project risks and other challenges, and produce high quality project outcomes, in pursuit of the challenge goals.

 

Concept Papers will be evaluated based on the criteria above. Each Concept Paper will be reviewed by at least two reviewers and be assigned a score for each criterion, 0-10 for each criterion. The scores have the following meaning:

Scoring for Concept Papers

10 Contestant has strong potential to aid in the achievement of the goals of the challenge
1-9 Varying degrees of certainty the contestant may have the potential to aid in the achievement of the goals of the challenge
0 Contestant does not have the potential to aid in the achievement of the goals of the challenge

Weighting of Criteria for Concept Papers

Criterion 1: Strategic Alignment & Technical Outcome 50%
Criterion 2: Feasibility & Team 50%

Judges

The submissions will be judged by a qualified panel of expert(s) selected by the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology at its sole discretion. The panel consists of Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology and non- Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology experts and will judge the submissions according to the judging criteria identified above in order to select winners. Judges may not (A) have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any entity that is a registered contestant in a contest; or (B) have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered contestant.

The decisions of the judges for the contest will be announced in accordance with the dates noted in the “Important Dates” section of these rules.

VERIFICATION OF WINNERS:

ALL CONTEST WINNERS WILL BE SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION OF IDENTITY, QUALIFICATIONS AND ROLE IN THE CREATION OF THE SUBMISSION BY The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Winners must comply with all terms and conditions of the Official Rules. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements contained herein. The Winners will be notified by email, telephone, or mail after the date of winning results. Each Winner of monetary or non-monetary award, will be required to sign and return to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, within ten (10) days of the date the notice is sent, an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Enrollment Form (OMB NO. 1510-0056) and a Contestant Eligibility Verification in order to claim the prize.

In the sole discretion of the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a potential winner will be deemed ineligible to win if: (i) the person/entity cannot be contacted; (ii) the person/entity fails to sign and return an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Enrollment Form (OMB NO. 1510-0056) and a Contestant Eligibility Verification within the required time period; (iii) the prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable; or (iv) the submission or person/entity is disqualified for any other reason. In the event of a disqualification of a winner, the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology in their sole discretion may award the applicable prize to an alternate winner when applicable.

SUBMISSION AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

In order for submissions to be eligible for review, recognition and award, contestants’ must meet the following requirements:

  • Deadline – The submission must be available for evaluation by the end date noted in the “Important Dates” section of these rules.
  • No NIST logo – submission(s) must not use NIST’s logo or official seal and must not claim NIST endorsement.
  • Each submission must be original, the work of the contestant, and must not infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or any other rights of any person or entity.
  • It is an express condition of submission and eligibility that each contestant warrants and represents that the contestant’s submission is solely owned by the contestant, that the submission is wholly original with the contestant, and that no other party has any ownership rights or ownership interest in the submission.
  • Each contestant further represents and warrants to NIST that the submission, and any use thereof by NIST shall not: (i) be defamatory or libelous in any manner toward any person, (ii) constitute or result in any misappropriation or other violation of any person’s publicity rights or right of privacy, or (iii) infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights or any other rights of any person or entity.
  • A Contestant may contract with a third party for technical assistance to create the Submission, provided the Submission is solely the Contestant’s work product and the result of the Contestant’s ideas and creativity and the Contestant owns all rights to it.
  • Each Submission must be in English.
  • Submissions will not be accepted if they contain any matter that, in the sole discretion of NIST, is indecent, obscene, defamatory, libelous, in bad taste, or demonstrates a lack of respect for public morals or conduct.
  • If NIST, in its discretion, finds any submission to be unacceptable, then such submission shall be deemed disqualified.

Concept Paper Content Requirements

The Concept Paper must conform to the following content requirements:

SECTION

(Start each section on a new page)

PAGE LIMIT DESCRIPTION
Cover Page and Abstract

(required)

1 page maximum Contestant (Individual, Team, Organization, Company) name and Application title.

Technical and business points of contact and best way to contact them.

Describe succinctly (500-word MAXIMUM):

·         The unique aspects of the contestants’ approach and the potential impact that the proposed approach could have in achieving the goals of the challenge.

·         Target flight time for each payload and fuel / energy source of your UAV

·         Note: Do not include proprietary or sensitive information in this summary.

Project Description

(required)

4 pages maximum Addressing the scoring criteria should be your primary objective, therefore, create your concept paper to address the criteria. Below are a few options to consider:

·         The contestant’s knowledge, skills, and capabilities as they relate to the goals of the challenge.

·         The current state-of-the-art in the relevant field and application, including key shortcomings, limitations, costs, and challenges and how the proposed project will overcome the shortcomings, limitations, and challenges relevant to the goals of the challenge.

·         The competitive advantage offered by the contestant’s approach or solution.

·         High-level vision for performance metrics. Describe what will be produced, when it will be produced, and how it will be verified. Start by defining the baseline capability and end project performance metric in quantifiable/verifiable terms. Then fill in interim performance metrics. (This will be closely reviewed so consider this carefully and use numbers).

Resume Information for Key Team Members (required) 3-5 pages The key team members and why they are well suited to accomplish the project, with supporting resume information to support their qualifications.
Summary Slide

(required)

1 page Applicants are encouraged to provide a single slide summarizing the proposed project.  The recommended format can be found at challenge.gov link.
Letters of Support (optional) 1 page max. per Letter of Support You may attach up to 3 letters of support from external entities (1-page maximum per letter). Multi-page Letters of Support are not allowed, any extra pages will not be reviewed.

 

NIST will not review or consider ineligible Concept Papers. NIST makes an independent assessment of each Concept Paper based on the evaluation criteria. During the review, each subject matter expert reviewer will review entire concept papers to which they are assigned. The review is not done in sections with different reviewers responsible for different assigned sections. Therefore, it is not necessary to repeat information in every part of the concept paper. Do not include sensitive materials in the concept paper, for example personally identifiable information like social security numbers, business sensitive information like tax id numbers, etc.

CONTESTANT ELIGIBILITY:

To be eligible for the cash prizes, each contestant or team of contestants must include an individual age 18 or older at the time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories. In the case of a private entity, the business shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.  Contestants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.  NIST Guest Researchers, as well as direct recipients of NIST funding awards through any Center of Excellence established by NIST, are eligible to enter, but are not eligible to receive cash awards. Non-NIST Federal employees acting in their personal capacities should consult with their respective agency ethics officials to determine whether their participation in this Competition is permissible.  Contestants, including individuals and private entities, must not have been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the preceding 24 months and must not have any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability. Contestants must not be suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from doing business with the Federal Government.  Multiple individuals and/or legal entities may collaborate as a group to submit a single entry and a single individual from the group must be designated as an official representative for each entry.  That designated individual will be responsible for meeting all entry and evaluation requirements.

TEAMS:

Contest submissions can be from an individual or a team(s). If a team of individuals, a corporation, or an organization is selected as a prize winner, NIST will award a single dollar amount to the winning Team(s) and each Team, whether consisting of a single or multiple contestants, is solely responsible for allocating any prize amount among its member contestants as they deem appropriate. NIST will not arbitrate, intervene, advise on, or resolve any matters between entrant members. It will be up to the winning Team(s) to reallocate the prize money among its member contestants, if they deem it appropriate.

SUBMISSION RIGHTS:

Any applicable intellectual property rights to a submission will remain with the Contestant.  By participating in the prize challenge, the Contestant is not granting any rights in any patents, pending patent applications, or copyrights related to the technology described in the Entry.  However, by submitting a contest submission, the Contestant is granting the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology certain limited rights as set forth herein.

  • The Contestant grants to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology the right to review the submission, to describe the submission in any materials created in connection with this competition, and to screen and evaluate the submission. The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology will also have the right to publicize Contestant’s name and, as applicable, the names of Contestant’s team members and/or organization which participated in the submission following the conclusion of the competition.
  • As part of its submission, the Contestant must provide written consent granting the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the Contestant’s entry (“demonstration license”). This demonstration license includes posting or linking to the Contestant’s entry on the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology websites, including the competition website and inclusion of the Contestant’s submission in any other media, worldwide.

Warranties

Each contestant represents and warrants that the contestant is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission; that the submission is an original work of the contestant and that the contestant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others, including the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, to use the submission, as specified throughout the Official Rules, that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the contestant is aware; and that the submission is free of malware.

By submitting an Entry, the Contestant represents and warrants that all information submitted is true and complete to the best of the Contestant’s knowledge, that the Contestant has the right and authority to submit the Entry on the Contestant’s own behalf or on behalf of the persons and entities that the Contestant specifies within the Entry, and that the Entry (both the information and materials submitted in the Entry and the underlying technology/method/idea/treatment protocol/solution described in the Entry):

  • Is the Contestant’s own original work, or is submitted by permission with full and proper credit given within the Entry;
  • does not contain trade secrets (the Contestant’s or anyone else’s);
  • does not knowingly violate or infringe upon the patent rights, industrial design rights, copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity;
  • does not contain malicious code, such as viruses, malware, timebombs, cancelbots, worms, Trojan horses or other potentially harmful programs or other material or information;
  • does not and will not violate any applicable law, statute, ordinance, rule or regulation, including, without limitation, United States export laws and regulations, including but not limited to, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Department of Commerce Export Regulations; and
  • does not trigger any reporting or royalty or other obligation to any third party.

OFFICIAL RULES OF THE PROTOTYPING, HARDWARE BUILD AND VIDEO TEST & EVALUATION CONTEST (Stage 2)

Introduction:

In this contest, the contestants will purchase or create the hardware necessary to implement the approach outlined within their concept paper. Contestants will utilize their funding to purchase or create (for example, using 3D printing or machining) the hardware or parts necessary to build their prototype UAS to the specifications and required safety standards. Once the build is complete, contestants will be required to complete a series of Video Test & Evaluation flights designed to ensure the contestants complete minimum requirements for safety, hardware configuration, flight time and payload with their prototype UAS. Contestants who complete this stage successfully will receive an invitation to the NIST Robotics Test Facility and up to $10,000 in invitational travel funds to attend the final Live Test & Evaluation contest.

Contestants are limited to those selected from the Concept Paper Contest.

Important Dates:

Link to Program Schedule 1

How to Enter:

  • Once contestants are selected from the Concept Paper Contest, they will be required to participate in an introduction and challenge kickoff event. This event may be in person or online, and is required.
  • Contestants will review the terms and conditions of participation and accept the terms and conditions for entry.
  • Contestants are not permitted to expend more than $20,000 on hardware. This is the hardware budget for all contestants.
  • Contestants will complete their prototyping and hardware build process and be required to hold check-in meetings once every two weeks with the NIST team to report on progress.
  • Contestants must keep records of all hardware purchased or created for the prototype to ensure their entry is compliant. Records must show that all components included in the build are acquired appropriately, accounted for, and reported correctly for review.
  • Reporting requirements are similar to a build list or acquisition list, something that a NIST staff member can review and verify to ensure that the hardware assembled is within the hardware budget allowed for each contestant. This hardware budget is in place to ensure that all contestants have the same resources to enable their creativity. Contestants who violate this critical requirement will be removed from the competition and no longer be eligible for future contests as part of this challenge.
  • The images of the prototype UAS, the build list, and an interview with the NIST staff, judge panel and SME will be required prior to contestants being invited to the next stage of the challenge.
  • Contestants will complete a series of recorded flights. Each flight will begin with a safety check which meets NIST safety check standards, then the contestant will place the UAS in a safe test flight location. The contestant(s) will complete a series of standardized tests to ensure the UAS can be safely operated within a confined space and achieve basic performance requirements.
  • All contestants will provide their test flight video to NIST via secure file transfer for review and verification prior to the contest closing date. The test flight video must have a minimum resolution of 1,280 x720 pixels. The test flight video should include the view of the UAS in the air from the moment of takeoff to the moment of landing, a view from a camera onboard the UAS looking straight down, a view of the controller(s) for the UAS, and a view of a clock with at least a one (1) second resolution. The four (4) views should be clearly visible in the same video image simultaneously. This may be accomplished by strategically positioning the video camera relative to the UAS, controller(s), and clock such that these three (3) components are visible to the camera; or by feeding live video from several cameras pointed at the UAS, controller(s), and clock, respectively, into a video Multiview processor that can combine multiple inputs into one video output.

UAS Specifications

Aircraft entered will be subject to the following requirements and limitations:

  • Must not be a completely unaltered commercial, off-the-shelf UAS; the intent of the challenge is to design a UAS that is customized for the specific flight time and payload requirements of the challenge;
  • Must be capable of autonomous and human controlled flight;
  • Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS with the ability to hover in place;
  • Must be free flying, no tethers;
  • Must include the interchangeable payload adapter for this challenge;
  • The payload adapter allows for the different weight payloads to be interchangeable for test flights. The payload adapter will include a 10 inch x 10 inch plate with 8020 aluminum extrusion rails attached to two opposite sides of the plate to attach the payload. The payload will extend up to 8 inches from the base plate. The design must include at least four points of connection to the 8020 rails to ensure the payload is safely secured. A detailed technical specification for the payload adapter will be provided to invited contestants in the Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest.
    • T-Slotted Aluminum Extrusions 10 inch long, with a 1 inch x 1 inch cross-section similar to this: https://8020.net/shop/1010-s.html
    • The aluminum extrusion rails must be secured to the UAV using a minimum of four (4) 1/4”-20 steel bolts (similar to https://8020.net/shop/3066.html) of appropriate lengths and four (4) corresponding 1/4”-20 T-Nuts (similar to https://8020.net/shop/3286.html).
    • The payload volume will be approximately 8 x 8 x 6 inches.
  • Must include a flight termination system or “kill switch” to end flight if necessary;
    • The UAS system must include an independent flight termination system (FTS) that can be remotely activated from the ground by pressing an “emergency stop button”. When remotely activated, the FTS must disconnect the power to the aircraft’s propulsion system (e.g., the motors). Optionally, the FTS may also activate other complementary systems (e.g., a parachute) in addition to disconnecting the power to the aircraft’s propulsion system.
  • UAS energy source must be safely integrated into the flight system (electric battery, liquid fuel, etc.);
  • Entire prototype UAS must fit within 6 ft. x 4ft. x3 ft., and weigh no more than 55 pounds (UAS + payload);
  • Must have continuous radio communication with the UAS Controller and be capable of multiple channels or frequencies; and
    • As part of the envisioned scenario, a remotely-controlled UAS is expected to use a wireless connection (or radio link) between the controller and/or flight computer and the aircraft. The UAS may also be operating in the presence of other radio signals that could interfere with the wireless connection. In order to minimize potential interference, participants are required to use radios based on FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum).
  • Platform, on-board systems, and UAS controllers can be commercial, off the shelf or custom made but all components to the UAS system must be purchased or created within the $20,000 hardware budget allowed for each contestant.

Safety REquirements

All aircraft and ground-based equipment will undergo rigorous safety evaluations leading up to the UAS Flight and Payload Challenge. Physical inspections will occur before each flight that occurs as part of the video and Live Test and Evaluation competitions. These inspections must be passed before the aircraft will be permitted to fly. All decisions by NIST in relation to airworthiness are final.

Safety inspections will include (but not be limited to) the following:

  • Structural verification of the aircraft to ensure structural integrity including,
    • Components adequately secured and fasteners tightened
    • Propeller structure and attachment integrity
    • General inspection of electronic wiring
    • Payload general integrity
  • UAS autonomous flight mode manual override;
  • Radio spectrum frequency compliance;
  • Radio range checks with motor off and on;
  • Flight termination system or “kill switch” test;
  • Aircraft will be weighed to ensure they fall within the weight restrictions;
  • Video evidence and flight logs of flight tests demonstrating safe operations;
  • Proficiency of team members with respect to operation of UAS software & equipment, communications and procedures.
  • All operators or pilots must be 107 FAA certified or under the supervision of a certified pilot who is a member of the contestant’s team.

Evaluation Criteria and Judging:

NIST will review each contestant entry into the Prototyping and Hardware Build Contest. A submission that fails to meet the compliance criteria will be disqualified and will be ineligible to compete in this contest. Submissions that pass the initial compliance review will be evaluated and scored by a panel of judges. An evaluation of a submission by a panel of judges does not constitute the NIST’s final determination of contestant or submission eligibility.

Submissions will be judged according to the criteria below:

Criteria: Hardware Component Review (full Compliance required: Pass/Fail)

Review the contestants’ prototype UAS, to ensure it was completed with commercial and custom-made components that total less than $20,000. The complete list of components purchased, their costs, and source as well as a list of custom made parts, their fabrication source, material, and material volume must be provided and verified.

Interchangeable and spare parts that are an exact duplicate of primary parts within the UAS, will not count as part of the $20,000 hardware budget. As part of the competition, UAS components may be damaged or malfunction. It is in the contestant’s best interest to ensure they have the spare parts required for safe flight and continued operation.

Criteria: UAS specification review (full Compliance required: Pass/Fail)

Review the contestants’ prototype UAS to ensure it is compliant with the specifications required.

Criteria: UAS Safety review (full Compliance required: Pass/Fail)

Review the contestants’ prototype UAS to ensure it is compliant with the safety features required.

Judges

The submissions will be judged by a qualified panel of expert(s) selected by the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology at its sole discretion. The panel consists of Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology and non- Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology experts and will judge the submissions according to the judging criteria identified above in order to select winners. Judges may not (A) have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any entity that is a registered contestant in a contest; or (B) have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered contestant.

The decisions of the judges for the contest will be announced in accordance with the dates noted in the “Important Dates” section of these rules.

Verification of Winners

ALL CONTEST WINNERS WILL BE SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION OF IDENTITY, QUALIFICATIONS AND ROLE IN THE CREATION OF THE SUBMISSION BY The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Winners must comply with all terms and conditions of the Official Rules. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements contained herein. The Winners will be notified by email, telephone, or mail after the date of winning results. Each Winner of monetary or non-monetary award, will be required to sign and return to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, within ten (10) days of the date the notice is sent, an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Enrollment Form (OMB NO. 1510-0056) and a Contestant Eligibility Verification in order to claim the prize.

In the sole discretion of the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a potential winner will be deemed ineligible to win if: (i) the person/entity cannot be contacted; (ii) the person/entity fails to sign and return an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Enrollment Form (OMB NO. 1510-0056) and a Contestant Eligibility Verification within the required time period; (iii) the prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable; or (iv) the submission or person/entity is disqualified for any other reason. In the event of a disqualification of a winner, the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology in their sole discretion may award the applicable prize to an alternate winner when applicable.

Submission and Eligibility Requirements

Submission Requirements

In order for submissions to be eligible for review, recognition and award, contestants’ must meet the following requirements:

  • General – contestants must provide a complete prototype and hardware build package that includes the following:
    • A PowerPoint presentation no longer than 25 slides describing the technical specifications of the prototype, the complete list of components used in its construction, provided via secure file transfer to NIST:
    • Name and title of the contestant(s) including links to publicly accessible resumes or profiles any online professional social media network.
    • A spreadsheet list of purchased components, their source, cost, and purchase date.
    • A spreadsheet list of custom components created, their fabrication origin, material, material volume, estimated material cost per volume unit and creation date/location.
  • Deadline – The submission must be available for evaluation by the end date noted in the “Important Dates” section of these rules.
  • No NIST logo – submission(s) must not use NIST’s logo or official seal and must not claim NIST endorsement.
  • Each submission must be original, the work of the contestant, and must not infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or any other rights of any person or entity.
  • It is an express condition of submission and eligibility that each contestant warrants and represents that the contestant’s submission is solely owned by the contestant, that the submission is wholly original with the contestant, and that no other party has any ownership rights or ownership interest in the submission.
  • Each contestant further represents and warrants to NIST that the submission, and any use thereof by NIST shall not: (i) be defamatory or libelous in any manner toward any person, (ii) constitute or result in any misappropriation or other violation of any person’s publicity rights or right of privacy, or (iii) infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights or any other rights of any person or entity.
  • A Contestant may contract with a third party for technical assistance to create the Submission, provided the Submission is solely the Contestant’s work product and the result of the Contestant’s ideas and creativity and the Contestant owns all rights to it.
  • Each Submission must be in English.
  • Submissions will not be accepted if they contain any matter that, in the sole discretion of NIST, is indecent, obscene, defamatory, libelous, in bad taste, or demonstrates a lack of respect for public morals or conduct.
  • If NIST, in its discretion, finds any submission to be unacceptable, then such submission shall be deemed disqualified.

CONTESTANT ELIGIBILITY:

To be eligible for the cash prizes, each contestant or team of contestants must include an individual age 18 or older at the time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories. In the case of a private entity, the business shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.  Contestants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.  NIST Guest Researchers, as well as direct recipients of NIST funding awards through any Center of Excellence established by NIST, are eligible to enter, but are not eligible to receive cash awards. Non-NIST Federal employees acting in their personal capacities should consult with their respective agency ethics officials to determine whether their participation in this Competition is permissible.  Contestants, including individuals and private entities, must not have been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the preceding 24 months and must not have any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability. Contestants must not be suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from doing business with the Federal Government.  Multiple individuals and/or legal entities may collaborate as a group to submit a single entry and a single individual from the group must be designated as an official representative for each entry.  That designated individual will be responsible for meeting all entry and evaluation requirements.

TEAMS:

Contest submissions can be from an individual or a team(s). If a team of individuals, a corporation, or an organization is selected as a prize winner, NIST will award a single dollar amount to the winning Team(s) and each Team, whether consisting of a single or multiple contestants, is solely responsible for allocating any prize amount among its member contestants as they deem appropriate. NIST will not arbitrate, intervene, advise on, or resolve any matters between entrant members. It will be up to the winning Team(s) to reallocate the prize money among its member contestants, if they deem it appropriate.

SUBMISSION RIGHTS:

Any applicable intellectual property rights to a submission will remain with the Contestant.  By participating in the prize challenge, the Contestant is not granting any rights in any patents, pending patent applications, or copyrights related to the technology described in the Entry.  However, by submitting a contest submission, the Contestant is granting the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology certain limited rights as set forth herein.

  • The Contestant grants to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology the right to review the submission, to describe the submission in any materials created in connection with this competition, and to screen and evaluate the submission. The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology will also have the right to publicize Contestant’s name and, as applicable, the names of Contestant’s team members and/or organization which participated in the submission following the conclusion of the competition.
  • As part of its submission, the Contestant must provide written consent granting the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the Contestant’s entry (“demonstration license”). This demonstration license includes posting or linking to the Contestant’s entry on the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology websites, including the competition website and inclusion of the Contestant’s submission in any other media, worldwide.

Warranties

Each contestant represents and warrants that the contestant is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission; that the submission is an original work of the contestant and that the contestant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others, including the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, to use the submission, as specified throughout the Official Rules, that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the contestant is aware; and that the submission is free of malware.

By submitting an Entry, the Contestant represents and warrants that all information submitted is true and complete to the best of the Contestant’s knowledge, that the Contestant has the right and authority to submit the Entry on the Contestant’s own behalf or on behalf of the persons and entities that the Contestant specifies within the Entry, and that the Entry (both the information and materials submitted in the Entry and the underlying technology/method/idea/treatment protocol/solution described in the Entry):

  • Is the Contestant’s own original work, or is submitted by permission with full and proper credit given within the Entry;
  • does not contain trade secrets (the Contestant’s or anyone else’s);
  • does not knowingly violate or infringe upon the patent rights, industrial design rights, copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity;
  • does not contain malicious code, such as viruses, malware, timebombs, cancelbots, worms, Trojan horses or other potentially harmful programs or other material or information;
  • does not and will not violate any applicable law, statute, ordinance, rule or regulation, including, without limitation, United States export laws and regulations, including but not limited to, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Department of Commerce Export Regulations; and
  • does not trigger any reporting or royalty or other obligation to any third party.

OFFICIAL RULES OF LIVE TEST & EVALUATION CONTEST  (Stage 3)

Introduction:

The Live Test & Evaluation contest is the final contest of the series. Contestants will complete a series of live test flights to demonstrate their prototype UAS flight time and payload capabilities. All contestants UAS will be tested and evaluated. Contestants completing at least the minimum standards will be ranked and, based on those rankings, will receive up to $120,000 in award prizes. First place: $50,000, Second place: $40,000, and Third place: $30,000. In addition, up to $4,000 in invitational travel funding for each team of contestants or contestant entering the contest to demonstrate their work at the PSCR Annual Stakeholders Meeting in June 2018

Only those contestants who successfully complete the Prototyping, Hardware Build and The Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest are eligible to compete in this contest.

Important Dates:

Link to Program Schedule 1

How to Enter:

  • Contestants completing the Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest should be prepared to complete a similar series of preflight, inflight and safe operation tests on day one of the Live Test & Evaluation Contest. All contestants will be required to complete these safety checks prior to any contest flights.
  • All operators or pilots must be 107 FAA certified or under the supervision of a certified pilot who is a member of the contestant’s team.
  • Contestants will be assigned a flight time to demonstrate their prototype UAS capabilities to a panel of judges in real-time and without interruption for the duration of a series of contest flights with different payloads:
    • 10 lbs.
    • 15 lbs.
    • 20 lbs.
  • Contest flights will be conducted in an outdoor environment. Each contestant will be assigned a flight area to complete their preflight safety checks and full test flight. Each flight area will be bordered by a safety zone. The UAS will need to achieve an altitude of 50 feet above the surface, navigate to an assigned position, maintain a constant stationary position for the maximum time it is capable of flying, and then safely land.
  • After all of the contest flights, the Judges will convene and discuss each of the contestants’ performance and give their final scores in accordance with the review criteria.

Evaluation Criteria and Judging:

NIST will review each contestant entry in the Live Test & Evaluation Contest. A submission that fails to meet the compliance criteria will be disqualified and will be ineligible to compete in this contest. Submissions that pass the initial compliance review will be evaluated and scored by a panel of judges. An evaluation of a submission by a panel of judges does not constitute the NIST’s final determination of contestant or submission eligibility.

Submissions will be judged according to the criteria below:

Criteria: UAS Safety review (full Compliance required: Pass/Fail)

Review the contestants’ prototype UAS, to ensure it is compliant with the safety features required and that contestants are properly completing pre-flight safety checks, and completing safety inflight tests.

Criteria: Position Stability & Landing Accuracy

Once the contestants have completed all preflight safety checks, they will be assigned a test flight area. To begin the test flight, the contestant will complete a vertical takeoff from the vertical takeoff and landing location, navigate to an assigned location and hover in place. The hover location will be 50ft above the ground, and the UAV must maintain a location within a three-dimensional space (5 ft. variance on the x, y, z axis) for as long as safely possible. Once the UAV has achieved its maximum flight time, it must safely land to complete the flight. The contestant will navigate the UAV back to the same location as the vertical take off and safely land. The distance between the actual UAV landing location and the vertical takeoff and landing location will be measured to determine landing accuracy.

Criteria: UAS Flight & Payload review

Review the contestants’ prototype UAS, to award points based on performance for flight and payload:

Payload Time Multiplication Factor
10 lbs. 1 point per minute 1
15 lbs. 1 point per minute 3
20 lbs. 1 point per minute 6

 

Contestant scores will be calculated as: score = time x factor. Each contestant will receive a score for each contest flight and the total score will be calculated based on the cumulative score from all three (3) contest flights. Contestants with a minimum of 270 points are eligible for prizes. Those contestants exceeding the minimum will be ranked based on their performance for prizes, including safety compliance, landing accuracy, and position stability.

Judges

The submissions will be judged by a qualified panel of expert(s) selected by the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology at its sole discretion. The panel consists of Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology and non- Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology experts and will judge the submissions according to the judging criteria identified above in order to select winners. Judges may not (A) have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any entity that is a registered contestant in a contest; or (B) have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered contestant.

The decisions of the judges for the contest will be announced in accordance with the dates noted in the “Important Dates” section of these rules.

Verification of Winners

ALL CONTEST WINNERS WILL BE SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION OF IDENTITY, QUALIFICATIONS AND ROLE IN THE CREATION OF THE SUBMISSION BY The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology

 

Winners must comply with all terms and conditions of the Official Rules. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements contained herein. The Winners will be notified by email, telephone, or mail after the date of winning results. Each Winner of monetary or non-monetary award, will be required to sign and return to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, within ten (10) days of the date the notice is sent, an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Enrollment Form (OMB NO. 1510-0056) and a Contestant Eligibility Verification in order to claim the prize.

In the sole discretion of the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a potential winner will be deemed ineligible to win if: (i) the person/entity cannot be contacted; (ii) the person/entity fails to sign and return an ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Enrollment Form (OMB NO. 1510-0056) and a Contestant Eligibility Verification within the required time period; (iii) the prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable; or (iv) the submission or person/entity is disqualified for any other reason. In the event of a disqualification of a winner, the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology in their sole discretion may award the applicable prize to an alternate winner when applicable.

SUBMISSION AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Submission Requirements

In order for submissions to be eligible for review, recognition and award, contestants’ must meet the following requirements:

  • General – contestants must provide a complete series of test flight videos that accurately and completely document the following:
    • Preflight safety checks
    • In flight safety checks
    • In flight safe operation demonstration
    • Complete the Prototyping, Hardware Build and Video Test & Evaluation Contest to verify flight time and payload
  • Deadline – The submission must be available for evaluation by the end date noted in the “Important Dates” section of these rules.
  • No NIST logo – submission(s) must not use NIST’s logo or official seal and must not claim NIST endorsement.
  • Each submission must be original, the work of the contestant, and must not infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or any other rights of any person or entity.
  • It is an express condition of submission and eligibility that each contestant warrants and represents that the contestant’s submission is solely owned by the contestant, that the submission is wholly original with the contestant, and that no other party has any ownership rights or ownership interest in the submission.
  • Each contestant further represents and warrants to NIST that the submission, and any use thereof by NIST shall not: (i) be defamatory or libelous in any manner toward any person, (ii) constitute or result in any misappropriation or other violation of any person’s publicity rights or right of privacy, or (iii) infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights or any other rights of any person or entity.
  • A Contestant may contract with a third party for technical assistance to create the Submission, provided the Submission is solely the Contestant’s work product and the result of the Contestant’s ideas and creativity and the Contestant owns all rights to it.
  • Each Submission must be in English.
  • Submissions will not be accepted if they contain any matter that, in the sole discretion of NIST, is indecent, obscene, defamatory, libelous, in bad taste, or demonstrates a lack of respect for public morals or conduct.
  • If NIST, in its discretion, finds any submission to be unacceptable, then such submission shall be deemed disqualified.

CONTESTANT ELIGIBILITY:

To be eligible for the cash prizes, each contestant or team of contestants must include an individual age 18 or older at the time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories. In the case of a private entity, the business shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.  Contestants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.  NIST Guest Researchers, as well as direct recipients of NIST funding awards through any Center of Excellence established by NIST, are eligible to enter, but are not eligible to receive cash awards. Non-NIST Federal employees acting in their personal capacities should consult with their respective agency ethics officials to determine whether their participation in this Competition is permissible.  Contestants, including individuals and private entities, must not have been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the preceding 24 months and must not have any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability. Contestants must not be suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from doing business with the Federal Government.  Multiple individuals and/or legal entities may collaborate as a group to submit a single entry and a single individual from the group must be designated as an official representative for each entry.  That designated individual will be responsible for meeting all entry and evaluation requirements.

TEAMS:

Contest submissions can be from an individual or a team(s). If a team of individuals, a corporation, or an organization is selected as a prize winner, NIST will award a single dollar amount to the winning Team(s) and each Team, whether consisting of a single or multiple contestants, is solely responsible for allocating any prize amount among its member contestants as they deem appropriate. NIST will not arbitrate, intervene, advise on, or resolve any matters between entrant members. It will be up to the winning Team(s) to reallocate the prize money among its member contestants, if they deem it appropriate.

SUBMISSION RIGHTS:

Any applicable intellectual property rights to a submission will remain with the Contestant.  By participating in the prize challenge, the Contestant is not granting any rights in any patents, pending patent applications, or copyrights related to the technology described in the Entry.  However, by submitting a contest submission, the Contestant is granting the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology certain limited rights as set forth herein.

  • The Contestant grants to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology the right to review the submission, to describe the submission in any materials created in connection with this competition, and to screen and evaluate the submission. The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology will also have the right to publicize Contestant’s name and, as applicable, the names of Contestant’s team members and/or organization which participated in the submission following the conclusion of the competition.
  • As part of its submission, the Contestant must provide written consent granting the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to display publicly and use for promotional purposes the Contestant’s entry (“demonstration license”). This demonstration license includes posting or linking to the Contestant’s entry on the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology websites, including the competition website and inclusion of the Contestant’s submission in any other media, worldwide.

Warranties

Each contestant represents and warrants that the contestant is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission; that the submission is an original work of the contestant and that the contestant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others, including the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, to use the submission, as specified throughout the Official Rules, that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the contestant is aware; and that the submission is free of malware.

By submitting an Entry, the Contestant represents and warrants that all information submitted is true and complete to the best of the Contestant’s knowledge, that the Contestant has the right and authority to submit the Entry on the Contestant’s own behalf or on behalf of the persons and entities that the Contestant specifies within the Entry, and that the Entry (both the information and materials submitted in the Entry and the underlying technology/method/idea/treatment protocol/solution described in the Entry):

  • Is the Contestant’s own original work, or is submitted by permission with full and proper credit given within the Entry;
  • does not contain trade secrets (the Contestant’s or anyone else’s);
  • does not knowingly violate or infringe upon the patent rights, industrial design rights, copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity;
  • does not contain malicious code, such as viruses, malware, timebombs, cancelbots, worms, Trojan horses or other potentially harmful programs or other material or information;
  • does not and will not violate any applicable law, statute, ordinance, rule or regulation, including, without limitation, United States export laws and regulations, including but not limited to, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Department of Commerce Export Regulations; and
  • does not trigger any reporting or royalty or other obligation to any third party.

ADDITIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

CONTEST SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW

All contests are subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. Participation constitutes each Contestant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and administrative decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the contest. Eligibility for a prize award is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein. This notice is not an obligation of funds; the final award of prizes is contingent upon the availability of appropriations.

Participation is subject to all U.S. federal, state and local laws and regulations. Contestants are responsible for checking applicable laws and regulations in their jurisdiction(s) before participating in the prize competition to ensure that their participation is legal.  The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology shall not, by virtue of conducting this prize competition, be responsible for compliance by Contestants in the prize competition with Federal Law including licensing, export control, and nonproliferation laws, and related regulations.  Individuals entering on behalf of or representing a company, institution or other legal entity are responsible for confirming that their entry does not violate any policies of that company, institution or legal entity.

RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES

The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology is solely responsible for administrative decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the contest.

In the event of a dispute as to any registration, the authorized account holder of the email address used to register will be deemed to be the contestant. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person or legal entity assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Contestants and potential winners may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.

PUBLICITY

The winners of these prizes (collectively, “Winners”) will be featured on the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology website, newsletters, social media, and other outreach materials.

Except where prohibited, participation in the contest constitutes each winner’s consent to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s and its agents’ use of each winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state information for promotional purposes through any form of media, worldwide, without further permission, payment or consideration.

PAYMENTS

The prize competition winners will be paid prizes directly from the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology. Prior to payment, winners will be required to verify eligibility. The verification process with the agency includes providing the full legal name, tax identification number or social security number, routing number and banking account to which the prize money can be deposited directly.

LIABILITY AND INSURANCE

Any and all information provided by or obtained from the Federal Government is without any warranty or representation whatsoever, including but not limited to its suitability for any particular purpose. Upon registration, all contestants agree to assume and, thereby, have assumed any and all risks of injury or loss in connection with or in any way arising from participation in this contest, development of any application or the use of any application by the contestants or any third-party. Upon registration, except in the case of willful misconduct, all contestants agree to and, thereby, do waive and release any and all claims or causes of action against the Federal Government and its officers, employees and agents for any and all injury and damage of any nature whatsoever (whether existing or thereafter arising, whether direct, indirect, or consequential and whether foreseeable or not), arising from their participation in the contest, whether the claim or cause of action arises under contract or tort. Upon registration, all contestants agree to and, thereby, shall indemnify and hold harmless the Federal Government and its officers, employees and agents for any and all injury and damage of any nature whatsoever (whether existing or thereafter arising, whether direct, indirect, or consequential and whether foreseeable or not), including but not limited to any damage that may result from a virus, malware, etc., to Government computer systems or data, or to the systems or data of end-users of the software and/or application(s) which results, in whole or in part, from the fault, negligence, or wrongful act or omission of the contestants or contestants’ officers, employees or agents.

Contestants are required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in the amount of $1,000,000, before entering stage 2, for claims by a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in this prize competition and for claims by the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity.  The Federal Government shall be named as an additional insured under the Contestant’s insurance policy. Proof of insurance must be provided to NIST via secure email, N Files, and will be coordinated by NIST staff.

RECORDS RETENTION AND FOIA

All materials submitted to the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology as part of a submission become official records and cannot be returned. Any confidential commercial information contained in a submission should be designated at the time of submission. Submitters will be notified of any Freedom of Information Act requests for their submissions in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 70.26.

508 COMPLIANCE

Contestants should keep in mind that the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology considers universal accessibility to information a priority for all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. In this regard, the Department is strongly committed to meeting its compliance obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, to ensure the accessibility of its programs and activities to individuals with disabilities. This obligation includes acquiring accessible electronic and information technology. When evaluating submissions for this contest, the extent to which a submission complies with the requirements for accessible technology required by Section 508 will be considered.

GENERAL CONDITIONS

All challenge and prize competitions shall be performed in accordance with the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, Pub. Law 111-358, title I, § 105(a), Jan. 4, 2011, codified at 15 U.S.C. § 3719 and amended by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2016 (Pub. L. No. 114-329) (hereinafter “America COMPETES Act”).

The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology reserves the right to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the contest, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures, or any other factor beyond the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology ‘s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the contest, as determined by the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology in its sole discretion. The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology is not responsible for, nor is it required to count, incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, unlawful, or illicit votes, including those secured through payment or achieved through automated means.

ALL DECISIONS BY The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology ARE FINAL AND BINDING IN ALL MATTERS RELATED TO THE CONTEST.

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

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