Tag Archive | challenge

The Flying Donkey Challenge on hold

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

One of the most interesting competitions, The Flying Donkey Challenge that was scheduled to happen in November 2014. has been put on hold.

Tragic terrorist attacks on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi and more recent one that happened in the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu, made it clear that organizing a public drone event in Kenya is incompatible with immediate security concerns.

The full statement of the organizers:

“The Flying Donkey Challenge idea started almost two years ago and for the past year we have been planning the first edition in Kenya.

We have had tremendous support from Kenyan partners including: IBM Research, University of Nairobi – FabLab, Lewa & NRT Conservancy, SGS, Sandstorm, and many friends of the FDC. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and military air traffic controllers at Nanukyi have been very helpful in working with us to find solutions to organise a life changing event. We would like to thank all of them for their trust and commitment to the project.

Due to delays in obtaining final approvals from the Kenyan authorities, we took the difficult decision in April to postpone the first edition of the FDC. Beginning with the horrific Westgate attack last September in Nairobi and following the tragic terrorist attacks near Lamu this month, it has become clear that organising a high visibility drone event in Kenya is incompatible with immediate security concerns. To be clear, it is not that cargo drone testing presents any threat whatsoever to Kenya, or that international participants would be at risk from travelling to Kenya, but only that, for the coming months, the overseers of civil and military aviation in Kenya have made it clear they are unlikely to be able to sign off on legal precedents for autonomous flight.

Since April, we have been pursuing air space approvals and locations in other African locations. While these talks have been productive, our unfortunate conclusion is that we will not be able to confirm a new date and location in 2015. Without a clear time-scale, closing on the budget is not possible. Taking into account the speed with which research and commercial drone ventures are proceeding, we feel it unfair to leave the teams that have applied for the Challenge in limbo and prefer to put the Flying Donkey Challenge in its current format on hold.

We strongly believe in the future of cargo drones and are looking into ways to reposition some of the great ideas and projects presented. The goal is unchanged: a new transport industry of donkey-sized cargo drones in Africa and beyond that can safely and affordably move 20-50 kilo payloads on low-altitude routes, creating jobs and growing economies.

We look forward to a booming flying donkey future.”

Let’s hope that the new date will be set soon, and that 2015. will be a better year for the Flying Donkey Challenge.

Flying Donkey Challenge

Flying Donkey Challenge

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Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Poaching and wildlife trafficking is third largest illegal business worldwide, behind drugs and weapons. In South Africa, home of the almost three-quarters of world wild rhinoceros and is incredibly important country for rhino conservation. Unfortunately, during the recent years, rhino poaching was spreading exponentially due to the fact that the rhino horns are valued on the black market higher that gold.

 

Recorded number of rhins poached in South Africa

Recorded number of rhins poached in South Africa

In order to assist wildlife rangers protecting rhinos, Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge has been set up. The founder of the Challenge and the CEO of Kashmir Robotics, Princess Alliyah envisions a fleet of small drones to patrol the skies, providing rangers with the information they need to protect endangered species from poachers.

Challenge Logo

Challenge Logo

 

So far there are 140 teams worldwide, taking up the challenge based on simulated wildlife poaching and trafficking activities. Each Challenge scenario will consist of three phases:

  • phase one – each team will propose a concept that includes aircraft, sensors, embedded systems, communications and operational concepts
  • phase two – teams will fabricate their aircraft, demonstrate air worthiness and safety at their local designated flying fields
  • phase three – teams will compete in the Challenge scenario. Specifics of the scenario  will not be released until the morning of the competition, so teams need to be prepared to adjust their flight profiles, sensor parameters and data processing as needed.

The winning design will be used in counter poaching activities in Kruger National Park in South Africa. Prizes for the top three teams (beside the feeling that they are doing something good for the mankind) are:

  1. $35.000 and a 10 day all-inclusive trip to the Kruger National Park
  2. $20.000
  3. $10.000

Hopefully, this challenge and the winning UAV will improve the rhino protection. The problem might be that criminal syndicates might also take notice of the UAV technology, and might just start using their own drones to locate wildlife and rangers, in order to further develop their ugly business. When that happens, Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge needs to be elevated on the next level, and UAV design will need to include means of detection, identification and incapacitation of potentially hostile drones.

Pictures courtesy of Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge and Save The Rhino.

 

The Flying Donkey Challenge

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Africa is the second largest continent on Earth in terms of land area and population. Recently it is experiencing staggering economic growth, that is higher than that of East Asia. However, in terms of infrastructure, African countries are left far behind. Road network is underdeveloped, and often the best way to get from point A to point B is the air transport. And that is where The Flying Donkey Challenge kicks in, aiming to drive innovation, technical/design excellence, safety, collaboration and the foundations to implement large-scale unmanned civilian air cargo delivery services in Africa and beyond.

The goal of the challenge is simple: The Flying Donkey should fly around Mount Kenya in under 24 hours, delivering and collecting 20 kilo payloads along the way, and first Flying Donkey to finish it, wins the prize. But what is the Flying Donkey in the first place? In the propositions of the challenge, it is defined as a ‘an unmanned cargo aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 60 kilograms (i.e. fixed wing, rotary or lighter than air aircraft)’.

Mount KEnya

Mount Kenya

Challenge itself is divided into four separate tracks to address the various issues and find the best solutions:

1. Technology (sense & avoid, GPS denied navigation, safety systems etc.)
2. Legal (regulation & certification, responsibility and liability etc.)

3. Logistics (ground handling, air operations, warehousing, operating costs)

4. Design (ground station, business plan competition, simulations etc.)

Starting in November 2014, number of events will be held in Africa in order to demonstrate progress in each track. Once all tracks have achieved their objectives, teams will be able to enter the Flying Donkey Challenge.

Organized by La Fondation Bundi and the Swiss National Centre of Competence for Research in Robotics (NCCR), supported by IBM research and Swiss World Cargo, The Flying Donkey Challenge is an exciting example of application of drones for the benefit of human kind.

Dronologista will keep an eager eye on this topic

More information: http://www.flyingdonkey.org/