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CHALLENGE 3.2
LIFELINK: UAS DATA RELAY
COMPETE FOR UP TO $260,000!

PURPOSE

Join us for this exciting Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) prize competition using your ingenuity and hardware build expertise to create a concept for a UAS prototype. The top competitors of the challenge will compete for up to $260,000! The results of the Lifelink– UAS Data Relay Challenge (Lifelink Challenge) will support the public safety community and its stakeholders. You can make a difference! To enter for Stage 1, submit your entry starting August 2, 2021 with a deadline of September 30, 2021. To enter as a Walk-on Contestant in Stage 2, submit your entry by May 13, 2022. Continue reading to learn more about challenge stages and details.

CHALLENGE BACKGROUND

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR), in conjunction with Mississippi State University and Kansas State University, is hosting a 3-stage challenge, with a first place prize of $40,000 in the final event and prize awards totaling up to $260,000 for top designs throughout the Lifelink Challenge. PSCR’s Open Innovation team engages public safety entities, government, academia, and industry to identify innovation opportunities and foster technology advancements for public safety communications through Prize Competitions and Challenges.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this Challenge is to advance UAS technologies by building a UAS solution designed to support continuous broadband communications between first responders in the field. Specifically, PSCR is investigating options to enable state and local first responders the ability to continuously deliver Internet Protocol (IP) based data via a UAS. The goal of this challenge is for Contestants to design, build, and fly a complete UAS solution that provides continuous IP connectivity to first responders dispersed in a thick forested area with degraded cellular coverage.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

In a typical search-and-rescue or wildland fire scenario, multiple teams of first responders may be dispatched to a location where cellular service is not available. To retain their ability to send and receive digital information to each other, first responders might deploy a UAS with some wireless transmitter to periodically connect first responders together. For example, a UAS could be mounted with a Wi-Fi transmitter that flies over each group of first responders to deliver mission critical information such as fireline information or search and rescue clue markers i.e. a hiker’s backpack was found here on the map.

 

Imagine you are a first responder, and your latest mission takes you into a remote portion of your community, far beyond cellular reception. Multiple groups of first responders are in the field conducting their mission and need to coordinate their efforts. Each group needs to share and receive updated map information to their cell phones allowing for increased situational awareness of the operation. All groups of first responders are outside the range of the nearest cell tower. How would you deliver digital data files, using a UAS solution, to first responders in a cell denied area?

OFFICIAL CHALLENGE 3.2 RULES

CHALLENGE 3.1 & 3.2 LAUNCH WEBINAR

     Download the webinar presentation

CHALLENGE STAGES

The Lifelink Challenge is a 3-stage competition to design, develop, and demonstrate UAS solutions that support first responder operations in a degraded cellular service area. Below are details of each stage of the Challenge.

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