2019 AUVSI Competition Guidelines

A condensed version of the rules

AUVSI Competition Overview

The AUVSI competition is an annual mock search-and-rescue autonomous drone competition held in Pautuxent River, MD on the Webster Naval Air Base. The competition is typically held in the middle of June, unfortunately during Spring Quarter Finals. The competition changes slightly between the years, but for the most part it has several main objects from year-to-year:

  • Autonomous Takeoff, Flight, and Landing
  • Image Detection, Localization, & Classification
  • Obstacle Avoidance
  • Payload Drop

Competition Field Layout

Typical Field Layout

2019 Rules Overview

Here is a breakdown of the rules for this year. Please note that rules are subject to change per the Judges' discretion. The full document can be found here.

General Restrictions

Team Composition:

  • No more than one Grad Student
  • No more than 10 can go to competition (Shouldn’t be an issue)
  • One person will be team captain (Tom/Comran)
    • All communication will go through them
  • Must have one safety pilot
  • One Advisor -> Jeff Eldredge

UAS System Restrictions

  • Max takeoff weight: 55 lbs
  • Whatever is in technical document is the system we must use (4/14/2019 deadline!)
  • After 30 seconds of communication loss, UAS must return to home or land
  • After 3 minutes of communication loss, must terminate flight
  • No exotics fuels, brightly colored batteries
  • No unauthorized airdrops: secure all loose pieces (should be a lesson from last year…)
  • Must fly autonomously for 3 minutes to get mission demonstration points

UGV System Restrictions

  • May use a single UGV
  • No more than 48 oz (3 lbs) total for vehicle and payload
    • Payload is a standard 8 oz waterbottle
  • Must terminate driving after 30 seconds of communication or driving out of bounds
  • No exotics fuels, brightly colored batteries
  • Can only drive autonomously

Ground Station Restrictions

  • Display must always be viewable by judges and contain:
    • Map with flight boundaries
    • UAS position
    • Competition elements
    • UAS speed in KIAS or in knots
    • MSL altitude in feet
  • One vehicle and trailer
  • No objects taller than 15 feet
  • No ground-based sensors

Radio Frequency (RF) Restrictions

  • There is no RF management and any device can be used in the allowed bands
    • Should use hardwired connections when possible
    • Use encryption, directional antennas, and RF filters
    • Use frequency hopping or dynamic channel selection when possible
  • Allowed bands:
    • 72 MHz allowed but discouraged
    • 433 MHz allowed but must use frequency hopping spread spectrum
    • 462.7 MHz allowed, but judges will be using this as well
    • 900 MHz allowed
    • 1.08, 1.12, 1.16, 1.2, 1.24, 1.28, 1.32, and 1.36 GHz are allowed but must use frequency hopping spread spectrum
    • 1.2-1.3 GHz allowed for analog or digital video systems only
    • 2.4, 5 GHz and cellular connections allowed
  • Do Not attempt to jam or interfere with other team’s connections

Weather and Airfield

  • Must be able to operate in 15 knot winds with gusts up to 20 knots
  • Operate in temps up to 110 F with 100 F sustained
  • Do not have to operate in precipitation but must be able to secure equipment in case of sudden precipitation
  • Fog conditions with minimum 2 miles visibility
  • Electrical power will be 115 VAC, 60 Hz, and rated up to 15 amps
  • Must be able to operate without power for up to 10 minutes
  • Airfield
    • Coordinates: 38°09'01.5"N, 76°25'29.7"W
    • Altitude: 22 MSL
    • Magnetic deviation: 11 degrees west

Interop System

  • Entire interop system is open source and can be found on AUVSI Github
  • Network connection
    • Connection provides DCHP and a single static IP (subnet 10.10.130.XXX, mask
    • Connect to the system using given IP and username/password given at competition
  • Teams must download mission details from interop system
  • Must upload valid UAS telemetry with an average of 1 Hz while airborne
    • No duplication, interpolation, extrapolation
    • Can earn more points by uploading objects via interop system

Mission Demonstration (60% of total score)

  • Teams cannot score points while generating a penalty
  • If penalties are greater than points, teams receive a score of 0 for mission
  • Mission flight boundaries and airdrop location are given in rules
  • Judges
    • Ground station- in the tent and watch ground station controls
    • Safety Judge- will be with the safety pilot
    • Lead Judge- will be with the team lead
  • Judges score the other deliverables beforehand and give a ranking. This ranking is used to pick flight order
  • Teams must successfully takeoff and go above 100 AGL within the first 10 minutes of mission clock, or mission will be terminated
  • Teams must fly waypoint path before attempting other tasks
    • Allowed to attempt other tasks while navigating waypoints as long as it doesn’t affect the flight path
  • Judges can terminate the mission for:
    • Breaking rules
    • Risking safety
    • Accumulating too many penalties

Timeline (10% of mission demonstration score)

  • Provided at least 20 minutes of setup time
    • Last 5 minutes for mission brief
      • Summary of planned tasks
      • Roles and responsibilities
      • Other safety information
  • Mission time (80%)
    • Provided 40 minutes to complete the mission
      • Flight time and post-processing time
      • Flight time is while on the runway or in the airspace (30 minutes max)
      • Post processing is once UAS has landed and airspace has been relinquished and ends when team is done processing images and uploading data (10 minutes max)
    • Points awarded:
      • max(0, 60 − 5 * max(0, X − 20) − Y ) / 60 , where X is the team’s flight time in minutes and Y is their post-processing time in minutes.
      • Penalties: lose 3% of timeline points for every second over time limits
      • Teams are allowed one timeout resulting in a loss of 20%, lasting for a max of 10 minutes
        o 10 minutes for teardown time and to clear the flight line

Autonomous flight (20% of mission demonstration points)

  • Autonomous flight (40%):
    • Receives points if UAS flies for at least 3 minutes
    • Lose 10% for every safety pilot takeover
    • Must tell judges when switching between manual and autonomous
  • Waypoint capture (10%)
    • Will be given a path of waypoints up to 4 miles in length
    • Can attempt multiple times and best score will be used
    • Must be within 100 ft of waypoints
  • Waypoint accuracy (50%)
    • Points given with: max(0, (100ft − distance) / 100ft)
    • Must upload telemetry data with 1Hz frequency to receive these points
  • Out of bounds penalties
    • Equal to 10% of autonomous flight points
    • Additional 10% if safety violation, like flying over pits
  • If things fall off the vehicle during flight, it’s a 25% autonomous flight points penalty
  • Crash penalty: 35% of autonomous flight points

Obstacle avoidance (20% of mission demonstration points)

  • To receive points, teams must upload telemetry data with average 1 Hz frequency
  • Stationary obstacles
    • Cylinders, height axis perpendicular to the ground
    • Radius between 30-300 feet
    • Height between 30-750 feet
    • Up to 30 total static obstacles
    • Ratio of points: (obstacles avoided / total obstacles)

Object Detection, Localization, Classification (20% of mission demonstration points)

  • Standard objects: Colored alphanumeric character painted on a color shape, 1 foot wide with 1-inch thick lettering
    • One located outside flight boundary
    • Emergent object: Person engaged in activity of interest
    • Search Area: Contain all the objects except one
    • Off-axis target: Will be up to 250 feet outside flight boundary
    • Must submit cropped images with the object filling at least 25% of the image
  • Characteristics (20%)
    • Points: correct characteristics / total characteristics
    • Shape, Shape color, Alphanumeric, Alphanumeric color, Alphanumeric orientation
    • Interop contains an enumeration of possible characteristics
    • Emergent characteristic: Description of person in need of rescue and surrounding scene
  • Geolocation (30%)
    • Must give the location of the object
    • Points: max(0, (150ft − distance) / 150ft)
      • Distance is the geodesic distance between submitted and true value
  • Actionable (30%)
    • Objects submitted during the first flight are considered actionable
    • For object file format, must submit an additional USB drive prior to landing
  • Autonomy (20%)
    • Can submit object autonomously or manually
  • Extra object penalty
    • For each extra object, penalty is 5% of detection score

Air Drop (20% of mission demonstration points)

  • Payload: UGV must carry standard 8 oz water bottle and drive to specified location upon landing
  • Drop accuracy (50%)
    • 100% for within 5ft distance, 50% for within 25ft distance, 25% for within 75ft distance, and 0% for beyond 75ft distance
  • Drive to location (50%)
    • UGV must drive to location and stop within 10 feet of the target location to receive points

Operational Excellence (10% of mission demonstration points)

  • Operation professionalism
  • Communication between members
  • Reaction to system failures
  • Attention to safety

Technical Design Paper (20% of total score)

General Guidelines:

  • 8.5x11 paper
  • 1” margins
  • 10 pt font, Times New Roman or Arial
  • Footer with School, Team Name, and page number
  • No more than 15 pages including title and reference

Systems Engineering Approach (20% of paper score)

  • Mission Requirement Analysis
    • Requirements, design tradeoffs, which systems need to be built
  • Design Rationale
    • Start with Env. Factors (Team qualifications, budget) and mission reqs
    • Describe flow of decisions that led to the final design

System Design (50%)

  • Describe what and why each system was built with the implications
  • Describe tests and use actual data
  • Sections:
    • Aircraft
    • Autopilot
    • Obstacle avoidance
    • Imaging System
    • Object detection, localization, classification
    • Communications
    • Air drop
    • Cyber Security

Safety Risks and Mitigations (20% of paper score)

  • Developmental risks and mitigations
  • Mission risks and mitigations

Writing style (10% of paper score)

  • Clarity, accuracy, precision, logic, relevance, depth, suitability

Flight Readiness Review (20% of total Score)

Each member of competition team introduces themselves (5% of readiness review)

  • Experience
    • Number of years on the team, Degree of experience with UAS tech
  • Roles and responsibilities during development and on the flight line

System Overview and Planned Tasks (15% of readiness review)

  • System overview- Brief overview of mechanical, electrical, and software systems
  • Planned Tasks- Classify tasks into attempting and not attempting and our confidence on how well we can succeed

Developmental Testing (50% of readiness review)

  • Types of testing
    • Unit testing, simulations
  • Autonomous flights
    • Number of autonomous flights and amount of time spent in automatic and manual mode
  • Waypoint accuracy
    • Description of the testing conducted on waypoints and statistics
  • Obstacle avoidance performance
    • Types of tests with statistics on the number of obstacles avoided versus attempted
  • Imaging performance
    • Overview of the tests conducted on the imagery system
    • Average resolution
    • Strategy for best quality photos
  • Detection and Classification performance
    • Testing on the algorithms
  • Localization performance
    • Number of objects, average error
  • Air drop performance
    • Number of times attempted, number of times the payload survived, average distance from the target

Mission Testing (30% of readiness review)

  • Full mission tests completed
  • Estimated scores from all mission tests