NIST Launches New Competition for Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Search and Rescue

Jul 12, 2021


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has established a new competition called the “First Responder UAS Triple Challenge” to advance the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in search and rescue missions. The challenge will begin on August 2 and will award more than $700,000 in prizes through three different competitions running through June 2022. The challenge will include three separate focus areas, all that encourage participants to use hardware-building expertise to solve safety challenges.
The three challenges applicants can participate in include:
  1. The FastFind: UAS Search Optimized Challenge is focused on search and rescue operations using optical sensors and data analysis to improve image detection and location.
  2. The LifeLink: UAS Data Relay Challenge is centered on supporting continuous delivery of broadband data in a degraded cellular area.
  3. Shields Up! Securing UAS Navigation and Control Challenge asks participants to identify and demonstrate cybersecurity threats and countermeasures that prevent navigation and control of the UAS.
NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division will carry out the challenge. Division chief Dereck Orr says, “Our goal at PSCR is to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced wireless communications for the public safety community. These prize competitions are a way for us to find solvers from around the world to help us with this important research.”
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