$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