Australian UAV competition draws attention to civilian uses

UAV ChallengeNorthrop Grumman put out a release today touting its sponsorship of the UAV Challenge – Outback Rescue, a joint effort between the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and Australia’s national science agency. The goal of the competition is to grow the country’s civil UAV industry and raise awareness of civilian applications. Current Australian law makes it easier to obtain a operator certificate for unmanned systems than in many other countries, including the U.S., making the country a relatively friendly place for unmanned systems activity.

The challenge began in 2007 and consists of two parts: the Airborne Delivery Challenge and the Search and Rescue Challenge.

The Airborne Delivery Challenge, which is open only to students in Australian high schools, requires teams to deliver an emergency package to a lost “hiker” named Outback Joe (represented by a mannequin). The teams have 20 minutes to conduct up to three drops, with points awarded for landing the package as close as possible to the dummy. During an optional “search phase,” teams use their unmanned aircraft to read various symbols left by Outback Joe.

 

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