The UAV Challenge – Outback Rescue, often referred to as simply the UAV Outback Challenge, began in 2007 and has been held every year since (except for 2011 when the organizers decided to give teams an additional year to prepare so the 2011 UAV Outback Challenge became the 2012 UAV Outback Challenge.). The event is aimed at promoting the civilian use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and the development of low-cost systems that could be used for search and rescue missions.

The competition is a cooperative effort between the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA)(a partnership between CSIRO and Queensland University of Technology), Aviation Development Australia Limited, AUVS-Australia and the Queensland State Government. From 2007 to 2009 the event was also co-organised with Boeing Defence Australia. There is a thorough scoring system with a clear emphasis on safety, capability and technical excellence.

The event was born out of a workshop (“The Future of UAVs – Challenges and Applications in the Asia Pacific Region”) conducted by ARCAA in 2005. The aim of the workshop was to develop a plan which would allow the Australian civilian UAV industry to grow as well as to raise awareness of the various potential civilian applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Partners involved in the overall management of the UAV Outback Challenge are from the higher education sector, research and development sector, aerospace industry, Queensland Government agencies, and local Government councils.

The event is one of the largest robotics challenges in the world and one of the highest stakes UAV challenges, with $50,000 on offer to the winner of the Search and Rescue segment of the Challenge. The Challenge takes place in Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia at the airport.

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