UAVForge reveals challenge of developing perch-and-stare UAV

July 3, 2012
UAVForge concluded recently with nine finalist teams demonstrating air vehicles in a fly-off event at Ft. Stewart, Ga. Credit: DARPA

DARPA's UAVForge, a crowdsourcing competition to design, build and manufacture an advanced small unmanned air vehicle (UAV), set out to determine if a loosely-connected community of UAV enthusiasts could develop a militarily relevant back-pack portable UAV with specific capabilities. By using a crowdsourcing design approach, the effort sought to inspire innovation and creative thought by lowering barriers to entry and increasing the number and diversity of contributors.

More than 140 teams and 3,500 individuals from 153 countries and territories participated on—the collaboration portal that hosted the year-long competition. UAVForge concluded recently with nine finalist teams demonstrating air vehicles in a fly-off event at Ft. Stewart, Ga. The fly-off scenario, conducted on a training site, was a simulated military perch-and-stare reconnaissance mission, requiring vertical take-off, navigation to an area beyond the line of sight from the take-off location, landing on a structure and capturing video, and then returning to the starting point. While some teams were able to reach the observation area, none were able to land on a structure and complete the mission.

Persistent, beyond-line-of-sight, soldier-portable perch and stare intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is a significant mission area of interest that shows promising capability, but hurdles of asset cost and complexity of use must be overcome.

"The teams brought creativity and enthusiasm to the competition," said Jim McCormick, program manager. "The competition was more constructive than you might expect; there were many examples of teams helping each other."

Since no team completed the fly-off event, the $100,000 prize will not be awarded, and a design will not be manufactured for further testing in a military exercise as originally envisaged.

Explore further: Boeing ScanEagle to Achieve European Air Show First

More information: For more information on the fly-off see

Related Stories

Boeing ScanEagle to Achieve European Air Show First

July 18, 2005

Boeing ScanEagle will become the first fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to fly at a European public air show, when it takes to the skies at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, July 16 - 17. ...

NASA plans 'moonbuggy' design competition

December 16, 2006

NASA officials in Alabama are calling on the next generation of space explorers to design and race their lunar rovers in NASA's 14th "Great Moonbuggy Race."

NASA announces $2M lunar lander prize

October 25, 2007

The U.S. space agency announced it will offer $2 million in prizes to competing teams successfully demonstrating a prototype lunar lander.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.