2018 Medical Express FAQ


Some of the organisers of the 2016 UAV Challenge Medical Express

Q1: What is the consequence for not providing “continuous telemetry radio communication” and after what period of no communication would this be enforced?

A1: It is up to the team to determine how long the communications loss must last before the system responds. Teams are expected to be able to justify their design decisions.

Q2: Why must the retrieval aircraft have an active communications link to the Ground Control Station all the way to the ground at the Remote Landing Site?

A2: The communication link is required so that the takeoff can be paused or aborted or so that Flight Termination can be commanded in the phase immediately after takeoff.

Q3: What happens if the aircraft erroneously attempts to land outside of the designated remote landing site or base area?

A3: Section 3.3.4 of the rules specifies that if an aircraft lands outside the Remote Landing Site and The Base it will not be allowed to make any further flights. Section 1.11 specifies that one of the criteria for a completed mission is “All aircraft launched, land back at the Base intact within the allocated mission time”.  Therefore if an aircraft lands outside the designated areas the team cannot complete the mission.  At the judges’ discretion the team may be permitted to continue with their other aircraft for points scoring, although the loss of an aircraft also has an associated points penalty.

Q4: What are the designated areas of base and remote landing area and can this be provided in the geofence KMZ so that a team can exclude the aircraft from attempting to land in those areas?

A4: The coordinates of the remote landing site will not be provided.  The Emergency-Landing Target will be located within 100 metres of Outback Joe’s reported location and determining this target location is a key part of the mission.  The coordinates of the base will be included in the mission KMZ file.

Q5: Will the remote landing area be the same for all the teams or will it change during the event?

A5: The location of Emergency-Landing Target will remain the same for all teams.

Q6: What constitutes a “crash” opposed to a “hard landing”? Under what conditions will the team be allowed to continue the mission after such an event?

A6: An aircraft that lands at the remote site will not be permitted to takeoff again if it has visible damage that would likely affect the aircraft’s flight worthiness or has come to rest at an attitude that will likely lead to a failed takeoff.

Q7: Rule 3.3.1 stipulates that: “Remote computer equipment such as servers may not be used and all processing must occur either on the aircraft or on the GCS computers within the Base.” Does this include Mobile phone, data services and servers required to maintain communication links between the GCS and the aircraft, for example, port forwarding, VPN or telemetry relay computers that are likely to be located outside the competition area?

A7: Section 3.3.1 specifically relates to “Team Infrastructure”, which is equipment that is operated or controlled by the team. Public infrastructure, or infrastructure that is readily available for use by the general public such as mobile phone services or internet mapping services would not be considered team infrastructure.

Q8: Will the point allocation indicated in Table 5.4.2 be regardless of if the team achieves the various stages of the challenge in the same flight?

A8: No. Points will be awarded on the single mission that aims to complete the challenge.

Q9: If a team chooses, for safety reasons, for example due to wind or weather conditions, not to fly in their allocated time-slot, will they be guaranteed another time-slot later in the competition?

A9: No.

Q10: Will Joe have his mobile switched on and carry it on his “person” whilst he awaits the arrival of the retrieval aircraft? 

A10: No.

Q11: Can teams choose the location on the base where they wish to set up their ground control and communication equipment?

A11: No. The organisers will designate an area of The Base where teams can set up their GCS.

Q12: Are vehicles with integrated ground control systems allowed and also afforded the same setup times as teams without such vehicles?

A12: Yes.

Q13: Is it possible to attend the flying location at DMAC prior to the event for test flights before the challenge commences?

A13: The UAV Challenge only have the club for the week of the event and so anything outside of that time is up to DMAC itself.

Q14: Is there an entrance fee?

A14: No.

Q15: Can the mobile phone network, or a satellite network be used for aircraft-GCS communication?

A15: Yes, but teams must accept that there is a reliability risk (as the mission is taking place in a country area), and that a team’s safety case (part of Deliverable 3) will have to account for the risk of losing/leaving coverage.