Following its successful coordination of the recent First Responder Unmanned Aircraft System Triple Challenge, Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus has again been selected to lead an unmanned aircraft systems competition that will award prize money to winners.
In partnership with Capital Consulting Corporation, K-State Salina will coordinate the National Institute of Standards and Technology First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge, with plans to hold the live part of the competition in Salina in spring 2023.
This challenge, which will award up to $685,000 in prizes, asks participants to develop a low-cost unmanned aircraft systems platform for first responders that offers improved usability — or flyability — when operated indoors with limited or no GPS signal.
This past year, K-State partnered with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, for the UAS Triple Challenge, in which participants used their ingenuity to improve search and rescue efforts, support delivery of broadband data in a degraded cellular area, and identify cybersecurity threats and countermeasures on a UAS.
The new indoor competition will ask participants to build and fly a UAS that helps search-and-rescue teams locate missing persons and obstacles indoors. Search-and-rescue operations in an indoor, constrained environment, such as a partial building collapse, require reliable tools to assess the risks to first responders and other search-and-rescue resources. Certain scenarios can be life-threatening if humans are sent in first, so the National Institute of Standards and Technology seeks UAS solutions that provide safe and valuable intelligence while being highly durable and easy to control.
Prize recipients will be determined by a panel of judges, assisted by a team of subject matter experts, throughout each stage of the competition.
Kurt Carraway, executive director of Kansas State University's Applied Aviation Research Center, is interested in seeing contestants' resourcefulness when flying UAS indoors.
"Most UAS utilized today rely heavily on GPS technology," Carraway said. "Indoor environments often lack a GPS signal, significantly hindering UAS systems is a challenge for the many public safety applications."
All UAS enthusiasts are encouraged to compete in the competition. Proposal submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 15. For more information on the competition and to register, visit firstresponderuaschallenge.org/uas4.
"We are excited to partner with both the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Capital Consulting and hope this challenge yields cost-effective, meaningful alternatives to improve public safety around the world," Carraway said.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
K-State's Aerospace and Technology Campus is home to the university's unmanned aircraft systems program, which is a national leader in the unmanned aviation field and provides many engagement and education opportunities. Learn more at salina.k-state.edu.