The Safeguard with Autonomous Navigation Demonstration (SAND) Challenge will be an opportunity for small businesses to compete in an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle competition. The challenge will address some of the safety critical risks associated with flying UAVs in the National Airspace system (NAS): 1) flight outside of approved airspace and 2) unsafe Proximity to people or property.
Beyond visual line of sight operations (BVLOS) is the holy grail of UAV operations. The stretch goal of the SAND challenge is to demonstrate that UAVs integrated with NASA Langley’s patented geo-fencing technology, Safeguard, can operate safely beyond visual line of sight in the NAS. NASA Langley’s patented Safeguard technology is designed to assuredly address the aforementioned safety critical risks and will fly onboard the competitor’s vehicle while navigating the competition course. Safeguard is NASA’s patented aviation quality geo-fencing technology. Safeguard is a verified and validated independent system that uses real-time data about the position of a UAV to determine its proximity to a set of pre-defined and pre-loaded lateral boundaries and an altitude limit.
The SAND Challenge will demonstrate the successful integration of the NASA Safeguard technology in the context of a post-natural disaster scenario amidst critical infrastructure. The SAND Challenge will be held in May of 2020 in Hampton, Virginia. The challenge will follow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 Regulation Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations provided in the Resource tab of the Competition Basics page on the SAND2020 Website.
The primary objectives of the SAND Challenge are:
The small business competitors will develop their own autonomous logic implemented on their drones to provide surveillance and identification of key targets in a simulated post-natural disaster scene. A notional description of the SAND Competition Course is posted in the Resource Section of the Competition Basics page on the SAND 2020 website. The NASA Langley patented Safeguard technology will be flown as a stand-alone payload mounted on the drone. Details on the integration of the Safeguard technology can be found in Safeguard/SMART-04-002 Interface Control Document for Safeguard Units on the SAND2020 website which will be posted on the website by October 15th, 2019.