2022 IEEE Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Competition

Due to the COVID travel restrictions, we have decided to make the April UAV chase competition virtual.
IEEE Computer Society
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Visit the Competition Website


Announcements & Latest Updates

Thank you to all the teams for submitting their solutions for Stage 1 (simulation) of the challenge. We will soon announce the ranking of the submissions.

When we announced this year’s UAV Challenge, we anticipated that all COVID travel restrictions would have been removed. Many countries, including USA, still have travel restrictions in place including proof of vaccination, antigen testing, and required quarantine. Purdue University also has restrictions in place for hosting events with international visitors.

As a result of the current restrictions, we have decided to run the challenge as an online-only competition. Participants will submit their stage 2 solutions online. The Purdue organizing team will load the solutions and launch UAVs.

For safety, all submitted solutions will be inspected. If a team’s solution does not have obstacle detection and collision avoidance, the solution will be disqualified. We will work with you throughout this process. You are strongly encouraged to submit your solutions early (before 8 April 2022), so that we may have time to inspect submissions and you have enough time to correct your solutions, if necessary.

About Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Competition

An open-source reference solution will be available early March. You are welcome to integrate any part of the reference solution into your solution. Please understand that the reference solution will be used as a requirement for qualification. Your solution must outperform the reference solution to be qualified for an award.
We certainly understand that you are disappointed about missing the opportunities visiting Purdue campus in April 2022. Don’t worry. We will organize another challenge for October 2022. We truly believe that all travel restrictions will be lifted by then. More details about the October 2022 challenge will come soon.

A competition of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, also called drones) will be held in April 2022 at Purdue’s UAV Research and Test Facility (PURT). The indoor facility will be decorated with modular blocks as obstacles. The UAVs need to fly autonomously (i.e., without a teleoperator) and follow one moving object (a programmable model car). There will be multiple moving objects traveling at most 1 meter/second. It is possible that the moving objects may travel underneath blocks and create occlusion for short durations. The UAV that can follow the target moving object at the desired distance the longest (measured in seconds) wins. This is a software-only competition.
This competition has two stages.

  1. The first stage uses a simulator for qualification. Each team can submit up to 7 solutions and the best solution is used. The top 10 teams in the first stage are qualified to enter the second stage.
  2. In the second stage, all teams will use the same hardware (PX4 Vision) selected by the organizing team for launching the UAVs in Purdue’s laboratory. Each team has three chances, 10 minutes each; the highest score is used for selecting the winners.

Drone Challenge

  1. James Goppert
  2. Yung-Hsiang Lu
  3. Ming-Ching Chang


Schedule (Tentative)

  • 2021/06/01: Initial announcement
  • 2021/09/13: Hardware specification and sample solution in simulator available
  • 2021/09/30: Website launched
  • 2021/10/31: Video tour of Purdue UAS Research and Test Facility (PURT)
  • 2021/11/21: Stage 1 open: simulator available for qualification
  • 2022/02/05: Stage 1 close
  • 2022/02/20: Teams for Stage 2 announced
  • 2022/04/08-09 (Friday-Saturday): Stage 2 competition (online)

*Visit the competition website for the most up-to-date information

Purdue UAV Research and Test Facility (PURT):

Drone Challenge

The facility is located at Purdue Airport in West Lafayette. It was originally an airplane hangar. The laboratory is equipped with a high-speed motion capture system. The observed space is 180′ (feet, length) x 100′ (width) x30′ (height). Because this laboratory is indoor, it is not restricted by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations and UAVs can fly autonomously.



Any organization (including non-profit and for-profit) or individual can participate. This competition is held in the United States of America and follows all relevant regulations as well as federal and state laws.


Reimbursement Policy:

No hardware is needed for stage 1 qualification because a simulator is used. For stage 2 contestants, teams have two they have the options: 1) using their own hardware or 2) using the programmable UAV (PX 4 Vision) suggested by the organizers. The contestants may purchase their own hardware. The organizers will reimburse up to $2,000 per team.


Travel Grants:

Each team in the stage 2 competition can obtain up to $2,000 travel grants. If a team uses PX4 Vision, the organizers may launch the UAV in PURT and the team does not need to travel to Purdue campus. If a team uses its own hardware, the team needs to bring the hardware to PURT.


Distance Measurement:

The UAV laboratory is already equipped with a motion capture system that can detect the locations of objects. The motion capture system measures the distances of the UAV and the target ground robot every 0.5 second for 10 minutes. The score is calculated by this equation where distance is in meters:

if distance < 5:

score = 1 – abs(distance – 1)/4


score = 0

For example, if a UAV consistently stays 1 meter from the ground robot, the UAV receives 1 point every 0.5 second. After 10 minutes, the UAV received 1 x 1200 = 1200 points. This equation rewards teams most for following the vehicle at a distance of 1 meter.


Support the Event

Organizational contributors have an opportunity to align their companies with this new and exciting competition. Supporters receive unique opportunities to engage with the event and its participants. This is ideal for identifying new talent, recruitment, and promoting your organization.



Diamond Platinum Gold Silver Bronze
Logo on Web
On Award Certificate
Session Participation*
Booth during Competition
Video Call with Winners
Amount $10,000 $5,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000

*Winners will be invited to present in a major conference in 2022.


Long-Term Plan

In 2023 (or later), the organizers plan to decorate PURT as miniature cities. UAVs will need to identify objects (such as people, buildings, vehicles, bridges) or assess situations (such as broken bridges, collapsed buildings).

Visit the Website for more information.


Contact Regan Picket  – for sponsorship details.