Aurora Arctic Drone Hackathon in Finland encourages BVLOS operations

Aurora Arctic Drone

Aurora Arctic Drone hackathon at Enontekiö is the first RPAS-hackathon arranged in an arctic environment. The goal of the hackathon is to create future services by using drones in road maintenance operations. The robotisation of transportation is a global trend that attracts investments and development funds. The hackathon is built around three challenges – two with RPAS testing in arctic conditions and one aimed at new concepts for RPAS-based services (where an RPAS is not necessary needed). BVLOS flights are allowed, and encouraged, during the hackathon.

The Challenges will take place in Fell Lapland, at the municipality of Enontekiö.

Challenge 1 – Conditions of road markings

Challenge 1 is about using drones for investigating the condition of road markings (sidelines, centre lines, zebra crossings, among others) on the section of highway 93. The 3.1km long section of the highway 93, described in detail below, should be covered in one flight for this challenge.

Outcome 1: a video of the section (highway 93) from the starting point to the end indicating the distances in meters and measured along the centerline of the highway.

Outcome 2: still photos. After measurements, the jury will indicate spots where the condition of the road markings will be displayed. Challenge includes taking a still photo of those spots and to define the condition of the road markings.

The maximum length of the video is 10 minutes.


1. The accuracy of the measurement from start to end measured along the centreline of the highway,

2. Indicating the distance on the video (metres) from the starting point measured along the centreline of the highway.

3. The jury will rate the accuracy and clarity and the overall quality of the video and photos and the visual suitability to define the condition of the road markings.

Challenge 2 – Frozen culverts and ditches/height of snow banks etc.

Challenge: to measure and to film a 3.1km long section of the highway 93 in order to clarify important qualities of the highway, including positioning. The highway section should be covered in one flight for this challenge.

Techniques to be used can be chosen by the participants, including: video, infrared camera, laser scanner etc.

The features of the road that have to be clarified are:

1. the existence of the frozen culverts and ditches on the defined section of the highway 93.

2. the height of the snow banks on the road shoulder measured from the height of the centreline of the highway

Outcome 1: still photos showing frozen culverts and ditches

Outcome 2: Video, still photos, presentation and other possible material. After measurements, the jury will indicate spots where the height of the snow banks will be defined. Participants also have to clarify and present how they have defined the height of the snow bank.

The maximum length of the video is 10 minutes.


• The accuracy of material (judged by the jury)

• quality of information about frozen culverts and ditches

• the accuracy and suitability of the measures defining the height of the snow banks

• linking positioning into the video and other material

• suitability and usefulness of other ideas presented by the participants

Challenge 3 – New drone concept or service

Create a service concept where road and other public infrastructure tasks are improved or developed with drones in the arctic conditions. You can use the data gathered in the challenges 1 or 2 or open road register data provided by FTA or you may not use data at all. Let your innovativeness to fly, what could make the drones to work better in the arctic conditions, or how the drones could help you to change your daily routines in an urban life. The evaluation criteria for this challenge are Suitability, Usefulness, Novelty, Readiness and the Impact.

Outcome: short presentation and demo (max 10 min)

Appreciated solutions

Although the challenges can be solved with only a suitable video camera and processing software, merit is given to demonstrations on solving the challenges employing IR or multispectral cameras, or other advanced technologies, such as Lidar. Also, take-off from and landing at the Enontekiö airfield, properly demonstrating ability to operate over long distances, is preferred to flying from the roadside.


Winter conditions


Aurora Arctic Drone hackathon takes place in Fell Lapland where the conditions are ideal for both testing and building drones and the automatization of transportation in general. Fell Lapland region is known for its extreme winter conditions, scarce population density, extensive telecommunication network and good transportation connections, academic cooperation in the Nordic area and active testing of the automobile industry. The area is located close to the border of both Sweden and Norway.

Aurora Arctic Drone hackathon is a part of the development of Aurora Snowbox, the intelligent transport test ecosystem for automated driving and intelligent infrastructure asset management.

Competition area on highway 93

Map and description of the Enontekiö testing area

The road section is defined by Vähälahti Parking area at the SW end, and the road bridge at Hetantie 679 at the NE end. The precise end locations will be clearly marked on the road.

Available airspace

The airspace reserved for the hackathon covers the area of approximately 30km x 20km around the Enontekiö airfield, up to 3300ft, enabling both VLOS and BVLOS operations within the reserved airspace at a maximum altitude of 150m above ground level.

Prizes and visibility for winners

The prize is 5,000 EUR (which may be given to one or multiple teams, decided by the jury). The winner will also be invited to pitch at the Suomi Arena on the 11th of July 2017.

In addition, the winner and the best innovators will also be invited to present their company and their services at the Aurora Drone International 2018, that is planned to be held in the High North as a joint Hackathon with the co-operation of the Finnish Transport Agency (FTA) and Norwegian Public Road Administration.

In the meantime, FTA is launching the Infra Challenge in the spring 2017. One of its research programme ́s topic focuses on road infrastructure maintenance by using RPAS. The companies who have participated in the Aurora Arctic Drone Hackathon could have better and more easy possibilities to find solutions for the Infra Challenge ́s summertime tasks related to road maintenance. The selected proposals and research methods about how RPAS can help road maintenance challenges/subjects will be tested in Fell Lapland at road E8 next summer in 2018.

FTA will be organising an international ITS Summit in Lapland 2018, and subject to the conference date, the winner will be offered the possibility to present and promote their solutions and services at the conference.

The future is more and more automated and RPAS can be seen as one of the relevant and cost-effective solution also in road infrastructure maintenance.

Judges and mentors

Jaakko Ylinampa and Markku Tervo from Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the

Environment. Jari Rantapelkonen from the municipality of Enontekiö. One person will be nominated by the

Norwegian Public Road Administration.

About Enontekiö and the project partners

The Enontekiö municipality is responsible for the Aurora Arctic Drone Hackathon, one of the pilot projects of the Aurora initiative, which is coordinated by the Finnish Transport Agency. Tasks are defined by the Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, which is the local authority responsible for the road planning, development and maintenance.

Enontekiö is located in the province of Lapland in the outermost northwest tip of Finland, 300 km above the Arctic Circle. Enontekiö is the Finland’s third-largest municipality by its size, with a population density of only 0.24/km2. Enontekiö shares a border of more than 450 kilometres (280 mi) with the two adjacent states Sweden and Norway.

The climate in Enontekiö is characterised by its extreme northern location. The annual average temperatures are the lowest in Finland. January is the coldest month with the average temperature of −13.6 °C. The warmest month is July with only +10.9 °C.

The annual average precipitation is 459 millimetres (18.1 in). In the cold season, enormous amounts of snow can fall: The highest snow depth measured was 190 centimetres (75 in). Normally, a permanent snow cover is generally formed in October, and it does not melt again until the end of May.

In Enontekiö there are extreme seasonal differences in the length of daylight. The Midnight Sun shines uninterrupted between May 22nd and July 23rd. Accordingly, Polar night (kaamos) prevails between December

2nd and January 11th. (During the hackathon, 1.4. sunrise 6:33, sunset 20:28, daylight 13:54)

The administrative centre of Enontekiö is the village of Hetta, where the airport is located and where the Hackathon will be held.

Please visit

More information and team registration, please contact Mr. Markus Hanhisalo, on email

[email protected] or by calling +358 400 666990 (GMT+2h)

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