$378,000 prize fund up for grabs at International UAV Innovation Grand Prix

Patrick Egan

The AVIC Cup, International UAV Innovation Grand Prix

What sets this UAS contest apart from the others? Well, besides the large sum of prize money being offered entrants, it’s the real opportunity for an undiscovered design to go into production!

Prize money totaling more than $375,000 thousand U.S. dollars and is  open to all! The AVIC Cup contest being organized by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the Chinese Society of Aeronautics & Astronautics (CSAA) will form part of UAS China 2011, the second Chinese national UAS conference, www.uas-china-2011.org All  events are being held from September 21st thru 24th 2011 in Beijing, and will be commemorating 60 years of the Chinese aviation industry. Feedback from the first conference gave good insight into what is really transpiring in the Chinese aviation sector.

The event is broken down into two separate contests as follows:

The Creativity Grand Prix with the following competition overview: The complete mission objectives are for a new kind of unmanned aerial vehicle, designed and manufactured by participants to be launched and flown by its own power, design concepts and schemes introduction, flight demonstration will be scored. The overall purse breakdown for the Creativity Grand Prix (and I am assuming winners per category.)

Special Awards                  1,   300,000 RMB ($45,800)

Honorable Mention          2,   200,000 RMB ($30,500)

Prize for Separate Items 3,   100,000 RMB ($15,250)

And the Athletics Grand Prix: Participants design and manufacture a small, conventional fixed-wing UAV that can automatically take off, cruise and land on a simulated aircraft carrier deck.

The overall purse breakdown for the Athletics Grand Prix (making the same assumptions as before.)

Special Awards                1,   500,000 RMB ($76,300)

First Prize                          2,   300,000 RMB ($45,800)

Second Prize                     3,   100,000 RMB ($15,250)

Third Prize                        5,     50,000 RMB  ($7,125)

* All dollar conversions are approximate.

Entrance applications must be returned no later than May 31st 2011. http://vip127.berkeyer.com/manage/ApplicationInstructions.pdf

After perusing the rules, it becomes apparent that the sponsors are looking for very specific capabilities and expertise, as well as the notion of fast tracking designs into production.  There are stated requirements for Journal Papers that ask for drawings, key points of innovation, and approach for development. All of that aside, the modest entrance fee seems very reasonable for the purse(s) that are up for grabs, let alone the other business opportunities that may arise. Anyone who feels short on opportunities in their own country may very well find a warm welcome in a climate that is actively seeking skilled talent.

* U.S. participants may want to make sure entries are ITAR compliant.

The website


The rules


English AVIC Cup overview


Event partner UVS International





  4 comments for “$378,000 prize fund up for grabs at International UAV Innovation Grand Prix

  1. kb
    27 March 2011 at 8:12 pm

    World polarity has changed, finally.
    The only serious winged UAV contest in Australia postponed and made a bi-yearly event, while every single prize from China is comparable in amount. Distance from EU is same. Close contact with real industry guaranteed. Incompetently managed western world companies stay away!

  2. KH
    28 March 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Interesting on how a $580/person registration fee is considered cheap when the 3rd prize would barely cover the expenses for a team of 2, if at all, Don’t get me wrong I understand the whole purpose is to make industry ties, but the statement “the modest entrance fee seems very reasonable for the purse(s) that are up for grabs” seems to be alittle off kilter, I guess I have a different opinion of the term “modest”. Though I will commend China for it’s forward thinking, I really like the fact that where there was once 1 competition there are now 2; how much longer before we see ones in North America? I am excited!

  3. Patrick Egan
    28 March 2011 at 9:00 pm

    AUVSI’s student competition entrance fee is $500, and the top prize is $9,700. Not open to all comers.

  4. Patrick Egan
    29 March 2011 at 2:59 pm

    China ‘to overtake US on science’ in two years


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