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Does Your Drone Have What It Takes to Help First Responders?

2020 First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge accepting submissions until 18 December.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) First Responder Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Endurance prize competition invites innovators to bring their ingenuity and drone-building expertise to create a drone prototype for first responders. 

The competition is specifically designed to crowd-source as many inventive drone designs as possible for first responders.

One of the barriers for the public safety community is having access to drones that can fly for long periods of time, ninety minutes or greater, while carrying a heavy payload. Emergency responders can accomplish their mission more efficiently and effectively if the drone flight time for a known payload is maximized. Since the payload capacity, energy source, flight characteristics, and flight time are linked together through design trade-offs, NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) is exploring ways to optimize drones for increased flight endurance while making it more efficient and flexible for use by public safety.

The competition awards up to $552K in prizes that not only include the top three best designs that meet program requirements, but also include a variety of ‘best-in-class’ awards for specific drone capabilities. 

This is a 4-stage challenge, with prize awards up to $552,000 for the top designs. The most outstanding designs from Stage 1 will be eligible to participate in the remaining stages of the competition. The Stage 3 Walk-on Contestants (current stage) will also be eligible to compete in Stage 4.

The result of the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.

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