Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will host the second annual small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) Challenge at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., Sept. 16-20.The 2015 challenge, which is sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center in partnership with NASA, will be composed of two separate competitions: An “Open Class” where competitors race their own sUAS and the “International Race of Champions” (IROC) format race where all participants race identical drones provided by Embry-Riddle.
The competition will take place inside a netted, 40-foot by 60-foot by 30-foot-high “Drone Zone.”
Only experienced operators may participate, and Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership is required to participate in the Open Class.
The Open Class will include practice sessions Thursday and Friday, eliminations on Saturday and finals on Sunday.
Each day will begin with a mandatory operators meeting at 9 a.m. with trials between 9 a.m. and noon. In the spirit of the Open Class, there are no restrictions for control techniques; either Line of Sight (LOS) or First Person View (FPV) may be used, nor are there restrictions on automation.
The field for the Open Class is limited to 25 participants and will include obstacle and speed courses. All races will be in an individual, time trial format, with the winner determined by minimum time to successfully accomplish the course.
The IROC Class will be a separate race each day (Thursday through Sunday) with a required signup for each day. The competition will take place inside the drone zone from 2 to 4 p.m. The aircraft supplied will be a 180-size quad similar to a Dromida Ominus or Blade 180.
The competition will be in a time trial format to determine the four fastest competitors. The final four fastest qualifiers will then race in a side-by-side semifinal and final race. The field will be limited to 15 participants per day or as determined by the event staff.
The Challenge is open to any private, academic or commercial participant, limited to one vehicle per operator. For the Open Class, the sUAS must be able to take off and land vertically (VTOL), be less than approximately 36 inches in major axis, less than 18 inches in elevation and weigh less than 10 pounds. The sUAS will be required to use an electric propulsion, actuation and power system, controlled by remote transmission using the FCC unlicensed bands. To ensure control reliability, a spectrum analyzer will be employed to ensure deconfliction.
There is no charge for entry in the ERAU sUAS Challenge, and each Open Class entry will receive complimentary general admission tickets to the National Championship Air Races. Trophies will be awarded to the Open Class Obstacle Course winner, Speed Course winner, and combined champion. Trophies will also be awarded to the daily winner of the IROC Class.
Those who wish to participate in the sUAS Challenge must register in advance by going to erau.edu/follow.