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GoAERO Prize

Design and build a safe, portable, robust, autonomy-enabled Emergency Response Flyer.
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$2,000,000
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Summary

Overview

 

VISION

We are searching for heroes.

     Heroes who look past danger to help people in need…

     Heroes to step in to be the difference between triumph… and tragedy

     And heroes who Use Their Minds to Create Technology that Saves Lives.

We need those heroes.

GoAERO is offering $2+ Million in prizes for the best thinkers, creators and inventors to build an Emergency Response Flyer and unlock a new era of disaster and rescue response.

By unleashing the power of autonomy, speed, and precision, GoAERO is looking for the brightest, boldest and bravest to change the way we rescue and respond to disaster.

This is your chance to make history… and save lives.

Join Us.

Ready. Set. GoAERO.

 

WHY NOW 

The World Needs This. 

In the U.S. alone, nearly 4.5 million people live in "ambulance deserts," in a medical crisis, people in these areas have to wait as long as 25 minutes or more for an emergency medical crew to arrive.

In 2022, there were more than 380 natural disasters worldwide - affecting 185 million people and resulting in the loss of over 30,000 lives. 

Approximately 14.4 billion acres of land across the globe were burned by wildfires from 2001 to 2018.

In 2022, nearly 55 million people worldwide were impacted by flooding, including being injured or losing their homes.

These are just some of the reasons why we're introducing a global competition to create Emergency Response Flyers that can reach people in danger and fight disaster wherever it's found.  

 

Now is the time. 

New technologies today are enabling simpler, more reliable, and more versatile aircraft configurations. 

Battery electric technologies have enabled the distributed propulsion configurations that are at the heart of the eVTOL movement – and they require less training, are lower cost, and have less facility requirements than most available solutions. For example, helicopters may not be accessible to all first responders due to acquisition and operating costs, facility requirements, and pilot training – nor do they have adequate reach in tight quarters. 

Imagine a world where every first responder has life-saving aerial capability enabled by compact size and autonomous operations.

 

THE COMPETITION

Each Emergency Response Flyer is designed to hold a single person (with manikin stand-ins for human occupants), but what it looks like or how it works is up to you. We welcome revolutionary design -- functioning safely in both crowded cities and rural areas. The flyer should be roadable and trailerable; ready to be deployed quickly on-site while being productive enough to keep working day-in and day-out, reliably and efficiently. It should be versatile; flying in all theaters and multiple environments with the precision and agility to react and adapt to the unpredictable.

Saving lives is what this competition is all about -- and it therefore culminates in a final fly-off event featuring five missions that are applicable to a wide variety of real-world scenarios, including:

  • Deliver a first responder to the scene in a dense urban environment (building, signs, wires, tight spaces)
  • Retrieve an injured person from under a forest canopy
  • Deliver water and rations to communities cut off by natural disaster
  • Rescue victims from car accidents when traffic at a stand-still
  • Evacuate flood victims
  • Land in earthquake rubble and uneven terrain
  • Move a patient to urgent care
  • Deliver (or retrieve) a firefighter on a burning hillside
  • Deliver a smoke hood or AED to a highrise window
  • Retrieve a drowning victim at the beach or rescue a swimmer pulled out by a riptide
  • Douse a nascent wildfire
  • Rescue someone who has fallen through the ice on a frozen lake
  • Rescue from highrise rooftops
  • Transport a patient from urgent care to a hospital or blood/organ delivery from a nearby hospital
  • Rescue in urban tunnels or remote caves
  • Locate / identify / observe an emergency situation
  • Act as a fire truck “ladder extension” 

…With robustness to do all this in difficult conditions including bad weather, chaotic air traffic, unknown terrain, and unpredictable obstacles and environments.

 

Be A Hero.  When life hangs in the balance, the difference between triumph and tragedy often rests on our ability to move toward the danger, not away. To see past the peril and reach people in need. And when those risks are too great, or distances too treacherous for even our most brave, we turn to our intellect and technology to overcome the challenge. To create hope where it didn’t exist before. 

That’s why we are introducing this global competition to reward the greatest innovations in emergency response flight.

We call on the best and brightest entrepreneurs, engineers, innovators and inventors to push the boundaries of current technological achievement to unlock a new generation of disaster and rescue response. Together, we can Save Lives.


Guidelines

GoAERO

GoAERO is a set of three competitions fostering development and operation of single-occupant scale, affordable, robust, beneficial systems to serve the public good. These aircraft have invaluable capabilities for addressing challenges posed by natural disasters and climate change, humanitarian crises, medical emergencies, and other situations of people in distress. GoAERO aims to inspire aviation technology, beyond transportation, to benefit humankind. GoAERO aircraft don’t wear running shoes or fancy chauffeur gloves; they get important jobs done and show up ready to help wearing a badge and rugged boots. GoAERO systems are:

  1. Productive: Deploy on site and keep working day-in and day-out, reliably and efficiently.
  2. Versatile: All-theater, multi-environment, and robust so the important jobs are trusted to get done no matter what.
  3. Capable: Precision to complete unique tasks and with the agility to react and adapt to unpredictable environments.

The final Fly-Off event features five separate scored missions to be flown (with manikin stand-ins for human occupants) testing specific relevant skills and capabilities that are applicable to a wide variety of possible real-world scenarios, for example:

  • Retrieve an injured person from under a forest canopy
  • Deliver (or retrieve) a firefighter on a burning hillside
  • Deliver a smoke hood or AED to a highrise window
  • Retrieve a drowning victim at the beach
  • Get a first responder to the scene in a dense urban environment (building, signs, wires, tight spaces)
  • Get water and rations to communities cut off by natural disaster
  • Evacuate flood victims
  • Douse a nascent wildfire
  • Rescue someone who has fallen through the ice on a frozen lake
  • Locate / identify / observe an emergency situation
  • Act as a fire truck “ladder extension” 
  • etc.

…And do all this in difficult conditions: bad weather, chaotic (uncooperative) air traffic and obstacles, unknown terrain, etc.

 

Mission summary table

Productivity

Quickly deploy the system, then continuously ferry payloadDrive on site, quickly get the system ready to fly, then make multiple trips to move as much payload as possible.

Adversity

Take off and land in difficult conditionsLand, ground pause, and take off at sandy, sloped, wet/rainy, and windy sites.

Maneuvering

Tightly maneuver while avoiding obstaclesRun a slalom course featuring four obstacles and a spot landing, with and without payload in each direction.

Precision

Fine tasks requiring skills beyond course flight path controlToss a weight for lateral delivery. Push a button for precision hover. Pop balloons in a watery environment. Touch ground reference points.

Adaptation

On-the-fly decision-making and efficient flight path executionAssess a hitherto unknown environment, then plan and fly the best route through it.

 

While many existing aircraft are capable of accomplishing these missions, GoAERO will spur new developments that showcase to users, industry, government, and the public the art of the possible with today's technology (affordability, portability, storability, ease of use, versatility, etc.), which may one day lead to fieldable solutions.

 

 

Schedule

April 8, 2024: Comment period closes

GoAERO solicits and welcomes comments on the Fly-Off rulebook. Use this form to comment.

 

October 9, 2024: GoAERO Stage 1 submission deadline

Up to ten $10,000 Stage 1 winners are selected based on a digital-only submission describing the technical approach and project plan. Stage 1 submissions are judged on:

  • 40% technical approach: Describe the hardware and software you plan to bring to the Fly-Off, describe its sufficient performance, and substantiate that it will perform as claimed.
  • 25% project plan: Show that you will safely and dependably execute up through finishing the Fly-Off and have the necessary resources.
  • 20% competitiveness: Show that your system has been developed and optimized for competitive performance specifically at the GoAERO Fly-Off.
  • 15% clarity: Make your submission organized, succinct, and easy to follow.

June 18, 2025: GoAERO Stage 2 submission deadline

Up to eight $40,000 Stage 2 winners are selected based on Stage 1 content (with updates for those who participated in Stage 1) plus a show of concept validation. In addition to any other key subsystem validation you may wish to include, concept validation must also include evidence (with uncut video, including payload weighing) of the aircraft or representative prototype flying, and it must be at least 35% scale and carrying a dynamic scale payload weight on a minimum flight profile of taking off, flying 100 ft away, and returning to land at the same location. Submissions lacking this required minimum flight capability demonstration will not be scored. Stage 2 submissions are judged on the same criteria as Stage 1 submissions, with an additional 40% for concept validation (i.e., 140% total). The Stage 2 submission will also require explanations of safety procedures in place for the validation flights.

 

August 5 - December 15, 2026: GoAERO Fly-Off qualifying period

Qualifying for participation in the GoAERO Fly-Off requires an aircraft, with registration and airworthiness certificate, that has demonstrated controlled flight capability with full payload. Competitors must submit video (uncut) of the aircraft carrying a full-weight payload (video to include payload weighing) on a controlled outdoor flight consisting of at least a taking off from an area the size of or smaller than one of the defined operations zones, flying at least 300 ft away out of ground effect, and returning to a controlled landing at the same operations zone. 

Under no circumstances will participants be allowed to fly at the GoAERO Fly-Off who have not proven controlled flight capability at least 30 days prior to the competition. This is a hard deadline, with no exceptions. 

Qualifying and registration will require additional documentation and actions as related to both event logistics and to safety, for example disclosing information on internal safety reviews and operating limitations.  

Early application for qualifying is advantageous since registration may be capped. Early application also allows time to revise and amend a potentially non-qualifying package.

 

February 5, 2027: GoAERO Fly-Off event

The up to 3-day GoAERO Fly-Off features five separate missions testing specific skills and capabilities relevant to public good missions. See GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook for rules and mission details. $1,500,000 in prizes are available based on performance in these missions. The best performer in each completed mission wins a prize of $150,000, and each mission awards points toward a $750,000 top prize.

Additional prizes will be awarded:

  • $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize for “disruptive advancement of the state of the art.”
  • $100,000 Autonomy Prize for “achievements enabled by transferable automation, algorithms, and/or sensing developments.”

 

 

GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook

1. Competition format and scoring

The competition features five separate missions, with a prize awarded to the top performer in each mission. In addition, points towards a top prize are awarded for missions as follows:

Completion points

Capped at 70 points total

15 points for each mission fully completed, or5 points for each mission meeting partial completion criteria.
Performance points5 points to the winner of each mission, or2 points for the 2nd place winner of each mission.
Completion bonus3 points if completion points (includes partial completion) are earned in all missions.

Operating crew bonus

Capped at 4 points total

1 point for each mission fully or partially completed using only a single operating crew member.

Workload bonus

Capped at 3 points total

1 point for each mission fully or partially completed with no operator inputs while airborne.
Deployment bonus*3 points if deployed in under 2 minutes, or2 points if deployed in under 5 minutes.

*Only available if Productivity mission total weight of ferried payloads is at least 125 lb.

Furthermore, teams must earn completion points with payload in at least three missions and fully complete at least one of those missions to earn the top prize.

Ties are settled first by who has completed more missions, then by who has the superior ranking in more missions. If still tied, the prize is split.

Rules and requirements may change at any time up to and including the final event. This includes the nature of missions or even the number of missions and point allocations.

 

2. Missions

Productivity

Adversity

Maneuvering

Precision

Adaptation

 

2.1. Productivity mission

Demonstrate the ability to a) quickly deploy the system and b) continuously ferry payload.

OZ (operations zone)

  • The Depot.” Hard surface, trapezoid 100 ft long, 5 ft wide at the narrow end closest to the end line and 30 ft wide at the far end.

Profile

Deployment phase

  1. Start with the aircraft, operating crew, and all equipment for the mission (excluding payloads) on the ground transport vehicle, meeting width and 13.5 ft height limits. 
  2. Drive to the mission course along a prescribed route. The deployment timer starts upon arrival at the course at the OZ when all points of ground contact of the ground transport vehicle have crossed into the lane surrounding the OZ. Deployment actions, such as crew leaving highway-legal seatbelted positions, may not begin before this time.
  3. Prepare the aircraft for flight. One pause of the deployment timer and, if started, the mission timer (see below) is to be used for touch-free pre-flight checks and inspections to verify proper setup. Teams may also elect to use this pause to move the unloaded ground transport vehicle out of the OZ or away from course and move and set up ground control equipment in the designated operating crew area. The maximum duration of the pause is 20 minutes.

Flight phase

  1. The mission timer begins at the first of either liftoff or the deployment timer reaching 30 minutes.
  2. Empty of payload, fly a segment well out of ground effect. A segment is three crossings of an end line approximately one quarter mile away, and returning to crossing the base line between end line crossings.
  3. Return to the OZ and touch down.
  4. Load any payload(s) of choice (see below).
  5. Take off, fly a segment with payload, and land at the OZ.
  6. Gently unload all payload. Unloaded payload may not be in contact with any system element during flight (including prior to the first segment).
  7. Repeat the process of flying segments alternating empty and with payload(s).
  8. The mission timer stops at 90 minutes. The last load counts at touchdown (does not have to be unloaded before the timer expires).
  • Payload(s) may vary for each loaded segment and may be any combination of 
    1. up to one Alex manikin, 
    2. up to twelve 6 ft lengths of #5 rebar (~6.2 lb per piece), and/or
    3. up to three 40 lb sandbags (sandbags have no handles).
  • Maximum 4 payload handlers. Payload handlers must be at least 50 ft from the OZ borders any time the aircraft is in flight and may never get within 3 ft of still-moving systems not enclosed or blocked by static aircraft structure as first point of contact. Payloads, tools, and equipment must remain in the OZ or on the aircraft.
  • Expect mission parameters (such as course length, number of end line crossings, and/or completion minima) to be revised if the event site allows a larger course, up to the point of a single crossing of an end line at the limits of line-of-sight operation.
  • Teams may optionally elect for the first takeoff to be directly off of the transport vehicle, in which case it may be parked not only in the OZ but also within a 10 ft wide lane bordering all but the short sides of the OZ.
  • The ground route to the course may involve inclines, turns, bumps, moderate speeds, etc.
  • Total system weight for ranking includes all equipment used during the mission, including aircraft, extra fuel/batteries, parts, tools/equipment, consumables, etc., but excluding the ground transport vehicle (if not contacted after the first liftoff), operating crew, ground control equipment, and payloads. The first pair of human payload handlers utilized counts as 50 lbs, plus 50 lbs for each additional payload handler.

Productivity mission course illustration (not to scale).

 

Scoring

  • Full completion: minimum total weight of ferried payloads of 1250 lb.
  • Partial completion: total weight of ferried payloads of at least 700 lb.
  • Ranking based on sum of payload fully ferried divided by total system weight.

 

2.2. Adversity mission

Demonstrate the ability to take off and land in difficult conditions.

OZs

  • The Base.” Hard surface, 25 ft wide by 50 ft long. 
  • The Pit.” 12 ft x 12 ft loose dry sand. Sand extends beyond OZ borders and is further surrounded by short walls intended to contain anything strewn by downwash within the OZ environment. Additional elements creating low visibility conditions may be present.
  • The Hill.” 11 ft x 11 ft on an elevated platform at a ~12 degree incline, surfaced with carpet.
  • The Flood.” Surface of a ~24 ft diameter, ~18 in deep pool with simulated moderate (~1/8th inch per hour) rainfall. Touching / resting on the floor of the pool is allowed.
  • The Tornado.” Hard surface, 15 ft x 15 ft with strong, non-uniform wind currents. Elements used to create these conditions are placed no closer than 18 ft from the center of the zone.

Profile

  1. Start at The Base. Timer starts at liftoff.
  2. Overfly a tall (~30 ft) marker located approximately 100 ft away from the OZs. 
  3. Return to a different OZ. 
  4. Touch down at the new OZ and remain touched down for a minimum of 2 minutes.
  5. Take off and repeat (take off, overflight of marker, touch down, ground pause) for each of the remaining OZs, in any order.
  6. Timer stops after touchdown back at The Base. Maximum time allowed: 25 minutes.
  • The entire mission is flown with Alex on board.
  • No additional parts, equipment, or payload handlers are allowed.

Scoring

  • Full completion: marker overflight, touchdown, pause, and depart all OZs.
  • Partial completion: either a) any one OZ or cycle incomplete or omitted or b) completion without payload.
  • Ranking based on time for full completion.

 

2.3. Maneuvering mission

Demonstrate the ability to tightly maneuver while avoiding obstacles.

OZs

  • The Base.” Hard surface, 25 ft wide by 50 ft long.
  • The Spot.” Hard surface, 8 ft x 8 ft, with entrance and exit through a 28 ft wide by 30 ft high gate with threshold ~4 ft from one edge. May be shielded, above and/or to the sides, by structures designed to degrade GNSS quality.

Profile

  1. Take off with Alex from The Base. Timer starts at liftoff.
  2. Fly the course (forward direction):
    1. Navigate around (left turn) obstacle 1 (vertical pylon), staying above 50 ft AGL while passing abeam the obstacle in the outbound direction.
    2. Navigate around (right turn) obstacle 2 (vertical pylon), keeping below 35 ft (highest point of aircraft) while passing between obstacles 2 and 4.
    3. Navigate around (left turn) or over obstacle 3 (50 ft high virtual wall).
    4. Navigate around (right turn) obstacle 4 (same as obstacle 2).
  3. Land on The Spot.
  4. Gently unload payload. 
  5. Take off and fly course in reverse direction, no payload.
  6. Touch down back in The Base.
  7. Fly course in forward direction, no payload, and touch down at The Spot.
  8. Re-load Alex.
  9. Fly course in reverse direction, with payload, and land in The Base. Timer stops on touchdown. Maximum time allowed: 20 minutes.
  • The timer is stopped while any part of the aircraft is touching The Spot, up to a maximum of 4 minutes per visit. 
  • Obstacles and The Spot surface are placed within up to a 75 ft width and roughly spaced over a total distance of 225 to 325 ft.
  • Obstacles will be physical as far as is practical, with virtual extensions and interpolations. Contact is allowed with obstacles and The Spot gate.
  • Maximum three payload handlers for The Spot operations. Payload handlers are all that are allowed in addition to aircraft and payload (no additional tools or equipment). Payload handlers must be at least 50 ft from the OZ borders any time the aircraft is in flight and may never get within 3 ft of still-moving systems not enclosed or blocked by static aircraft structure as first point of contact.

Maneuvering mission course illustration (not to scale).

 

Scoring

  • Full completion: successfully deliver and retrieve the payload as specified.
  • Partial completion: either a) mis-flying any one obstacle once or b) omitting the final flight leg (reverse direction with payload).
  • Ranking based on time for full completion.

 

2.4. Precision mission

Demonstrate fine tasks requiring skills beyond course flight path control.

OZ

  • The Base.” Hard surface, 25 ft wide by 50 ft long.

Profile

  1. Timer starts on liftoff from the OZ. No equipment or parts may remain in OZ. 
  2. Tasks to be completed after liftoff, in any order:
    1. Toss: Toss a provided ~10 lb soft weight through a ~6 ft diameter aperture in a wall up to 50 ft AGL such that it lands through a ~6 ft diameter opening behind the wall, 2 ft below the sill. While only the weight may cross the extended plane of the aperture, contact with the wall is allowed. However, teams should not expect for the wall to be capable of bearing significant loads or be of any particular size.
    2. Push: Depress a ~5 inch diameter plunger between 1 and 6 inches for twenty total seconds. The plunger has a depression force on the order of 10 lbs and is mounted up to 25 ft above ground. Touching or loading the sides of the movable part of the plunger is allowed.
    3. Pop: Pop two balloons, one suspended ~1 ft below the water surface (measured from the top of the balloon) anchored in a shallow pool, and the other floating on the pool surface anchored such that its movement is limited to approximately a 5 ft radius circle. Contact with the water is permitted, but not with any other parts of the pool or intentional contact with balloon anchors.
    4. Touch: Touch four aligned 1 ft diameter spots distributed along the centerline of the OZ.
  3. Once all tasks are completed, return to the OZ. Timer stops at the latter of touchdown or completion of task (d). Maximum time allowed: 15 minutes.
  • Other than the tossed weight, any parts, accessories, projectiles, cooperative aircraft, etc. must be attached to the main aircraft at liftoff and prior to touchdown.
  • Alex must be carried for the entire mission.
  • All task elements will be located within 100 ft of the OZ.

Tossed weight target arrangement (not to scale).

 

Plunger illustration (not to scale).

 

Balloon arrangement (not to scale).

 

Spots arrangement (not to scale).

 

Scoring

  • Full completion: complete all tasks.
  • Partial completion: either a) complete all but one task or b) completion without payload.
  • Ranking based on time for full completion.

 

2.5. Adaptation mission

Demonstrate on-the-fly decision-making and efficient flight path execution.

OZ

  • The Base.” Hard surface, 25 ft wide by 50 ft long.

Profile

  1. Timer starts on the start signal with the aircraft on the ground in the OZ. 
  2. Take off within 1 minute of the start signal and complete the flyover array. 
  3. Once all flyovers of markers are complete (in any order), fly fully across the end line, then return fully across the end line in the opposite direction. Timer stops upon completion of backtrack across the end line. 
  4. Return to a controlled landing in the OZ. Maximum time allowed including landing: 10 minutes.
  • The flyover array is roughly a 2 x n grid of up to twenty markers placed no closer than 18 ft from each other. Each marker is randomly reset for every attempt just prior to the start signal. The array consists of:
    1. Up to 7 x green: must fly over within 10 ft diameter cylinder with payload-carrying aircraft at never more than 35 ft AGL.
    2. Up to 7 x amber: must fly over within 10 ft diameter cylinder with payload-carrying aircraft at never less than 50 ft AGL.
    3. Up to 8 x red: do not directly fly over with any system element.
  • The flyover array layout and makeup is approximate and subject to change up to the date of the event.
  • The entire mission is flown with Alex on board.
  • Overflight is determined automatically by ground-based sensors. It is the burden of teams to ensure proper detection. Aircraft may be required to be affixed with a sensor target to facilitate detection.
  • Full view of the array from the operator area or the OZ may be restricted.

Example Adaptation course illustration (not to scale).

Scoring

  • Full completion: no more than one missed or mis-flown marker.
  • Partial completion: either a) up to five missed or mis-flown markers or b) completion without payload.
  • Ranking based on time for full completion in a tournament format.

 

3. Additional rules and information

3.1. Spirit of the competition

Just like real-world missions require adaptability, teams should expect the unexpected at the event and should not expect mission conditions, layouts, or elements to be exactly as practiced, precisely defined prior to the event, or exactly the same for each competitor attempt. So, just as with sporting events, chance, weather, and other factors outside of competitor control may play a role in determining results.

Teams are encouraged to strive for competitiveness rather than just taking part. Those without good-faith intention of accumulating points or being competitive in any mission may be barred from participation.

3.2. Primary mission payload “Alex”

“Alex” is a manikin stand-in for a human with approximate stature of 5’5” and a nominal weight of 125 lb, plus clothing (to represent about half of a fieldable product minimum payload capability to reduce competition cost and logistics). Alex must be carried in some plausible reasonable position with plausible restraints for an active or passive human occupant. 

Alex (specifically, Simulaids #149-1390) and other payloads are provided at the event.

3.3. Transport and staging

The total system, including all operating crew, the aircraft, fuel, support equipment, etc., but excluding payloads, payload handlers, and specialized staging equipment, must arrive at the competition properly secured and fitting on a single US highway-legal ground transport vehicle (trailers allowed), meeting length and width requirements and a 13.5 ft height limit. Teams should be prepared to stage for mission attempts within two hours of access to the competition site since prior-day access is not guaranteed.

Whether repurposing the ground transport vehicle or using some other additional separate equipment (tugs, towbars, dollies, etc.), teams must be able to efficiently stage and unstage their system to and from mission courses. This requires the ability to:

  1. Move the system a distance over a hard surface at a minimum of a 2.5 mph (average walking pace), but more desirably towed or driven,
  2. Set up at the mission starting operations zone and ground station area and be ready to fly within fifteen minutes of arriving at the course, with the timer starting after 10 minutes regardless, and
  3. Clear the course within ten minutes of finishing a mission attempt.

Teams should plan to include the ability to clearly “safe” the system any time it is not attempting a mission, including assurance of radio equipment not transmitting.

3.4. Penalties

Any penalty results in a one fifth reduction in (partial) completion points and no ranking if the mission is otherwise completed.

Single penalties:

  • Each instance of going partially out of bounds of an OZ (some part of the system still touches inside the OZ).

Double penalties (two fifths point reduction):

  • Each instance of other illegal contact outside of OZs or explicitly allowed mission elements.
  • Inability to meet the efficient staging and unstaging time requirements for a mission.
  • Piercing or otherwise intentionally damaging payloads.

The standard penalty for otherwise violating rules or not meeting a requirement is a void mission attempt. Gross violations of the rules, unsportsmanlike or unethical conduct, or unsafe behavior, for example any excursion beyond course boundaries, results in disqualification and nullification of all mission attempts. 

3.5. Field of play

  • Layout, dimensions, definitions, and demarcation of OZs, ground station, and other mission elements are approximate.
  • It should not be assumed that areas outside of OZs are smooth, level, or free of obstructions.
  • Teams will not be provided with precise surveyed locations of OZs and mission elements.
  • Teams should not expect access to courses prior to mission attempts.
  • Mission courses will include additional explicit boundaries (including altitude limits) that may be close to mission elements, limiting wide turns.
  • Multiple teams may be airborne simultaneously, attempting the same or different missions, separated by course boundaries.
  • Neither aircraft parts nor payloads may touch the ground, obstacles, or mission elements anywhere outside the operations zone unless otherwise explicitly allowed. Where explicitly allowed, any contact must not result in the element being damaged, toppled, etc. i.e., it must remain in place and functional for the contact to still be legal.

3.6. Operating crew

No crew is allowed on board during flight.

Total operating crew is limited to 2 persons for deployment, staging, and operating the aircraft in all missions (excludes payload handlers).

Ground areas will be designated at each mission course for operating crew, outside expected aircraft flight paths but within line of sight. Anyone in or in communication with the designated area is considered operating crew, which includes e.g. a visual observer or other legally required crew.

Teams are responsible for ensuring that risks of excursion beyond course boundaries are mitigated, with consideration that there may not be a clean RF or GNSS signal environment.

3.7. Takeoff and landing definition

Lifting off means no part of the aircraft remains in contact with the OZ.

Touching down or landing means a load-bearing part of the aircraft (bears a significant portion of aircraft and payload weight) is in contact with the OZ and the entire flight system is a single unit.

Landings must not result in damage to the aircraft, payload, or OZ. All parts, components, and assemblies must remain intact, attached to the aircraft, and in the OZ.

3.8. Mission order and attempts

Adding and removing accessory equipment between mission attempts is allowed, but the core aircraft and its elements (propulsion, lift, control, lifting surfaces, etc.) must be the same for all missions.

The total number of entrants, which mission(s) they plan to attempt, event schedule and calendar, and other factors will determine the order of mission attempts for each competitor. Re-attempts to achieve completion or a better score may be available but are also dependent on these factors. In order to allow for a denser schedule of mission attempts at the event, the maximum time allowed limits for missions may also be reduced.

 

GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook v1 2.6.24


Competition Parameters

PRIZE PURSE

The GoAERO Prize Competition will award over $2 million in prizes over three stages.

Prizes will be awarded for each stage of the Competition as follows:

Stage 1

  • Up to ten $10,000 Stage 1 winners are selected based on a digital-only submission describing the technical approach and project plan. 

Stage 2

  • Up to eight $40,000 Stage 2 winners are selected based on Stage 1 content (with updates for those who participated in Stage 1) plus a show of concept validation. 

Stage 3

  • One $750,000 Top Prize awarded for the best overall fly-off score.
  • Five $150,000 prizes: one for each of the Productivity, Adversity, Maneuvering, Precision and Adaptation Missions: 
  • One $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize, awarded for disruptive advancement of the state of the art.
  • One $100,000 Autonomy Prize.

See Guidelines above for all rules and requirements for the competition.  

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Teams will keep all of their intellectual property, except that Teams will grant limited media rights to GoAERO so that GoAERO can publicize and promote the Competition and the Teams. The details relating to media rights are addressed in the Stage I Competition Agreement and the Media Rights Agreement. Other than these media rights, any rights a Team has in its inventions, drawings, patents, designs, copyrights and other intellectual property remain with the Team.   

The prize submission information that Teams provide to GoAERO as part of the Competition will only be shared with the Judging Panel and representatives of GoAERO who are involved in administering the Competition. Anyone who has access to a Team’s confidential prize submission information will have signed a confidentiality agreement and agreed not to share or use such confidential information, except as may be required by law.  In addition, Teams will not have access to any nonpublic information about other Teams or their technology or performance during the Competition.

 

INNOVATION INCUBATOR

Even the best and brightest minds can use a little help sometimes. GoAERO empowers innovator teams by providing access to experienced Mentors and Experts in design, engineering, fundraising and law. Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Luminaries of Aerospace and Business in global webinars. Have a couple of questions on conceptual design or configuration management? Looking for insight into cutting edge autonomy techniques? Trying to raise funding to support your build? Expert lectures speak to those disciplines and more. Learn from FAA leads, NASA gurus, Boeing Senior Technical Fellows, and the luminaries who actually wrote the textbooks. Hear about the aerospace fundraising landscape, and take a deep dive into financing decks and pitching VCs. Learn how to protect your intellectual property from patent specialists. A list of Experts along with their bios can be found in the Advisors section.

Starting in Stage 1, when one-on-one help is needed, all Teams will have access to our Mentor program, where Teams work directly with Mentors in their specific areas of need. Operationally, the Mentor program is organized so that Teams contact GoAERO to request a Mentor within a particular discipline. Upon contact, that Team will be matched with a Mentor (or multiple mentors) in that area. During these Mentor sessions, a Team works directly with the Mentor to answer the Team’s specific questions related to their technical build (or financing, or corporate documents, etc.). This is one-on-one support for the Teams, geared to the precise needs of each Team. GoAERO believes that providing this type of support is the best way to help aspiring inventors all over the world create the kind of ground-breaking devices that the Competition seeks.

 

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

GoAERO believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere. Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators with new ideas from all over the world are invited to form a Team and register to compete. To participate, a Team may organize their own members, recruit additional experts to join them, and can add new members at any time throughout the Competition. 

To be eligible to participate in the GoAERO Prize, Teams must complete all registration and administration forms, including a short bio for each Team member, certain legal documents, and be accepted by GoAERO into the competition.

For more information, see “Eligibility” below.

 

TIMELINE AND DELIVERABLES

The GoAERO Prize Competition is a three-year Competition launched on February 6, 2024.  There will be three sequential rounds of the Competition.

Comment period

GoAERO solicits and welcomes comments on the Fly-Off rulebook. Use this form to comment.

Stage 1                  

  • Digital-only submission describing the technical approach and project plan. 

Stage 2      

  • Stage 1 content (with updates for those who participated in Stage 1) plus a show of concept validation.        

Stage 3                 

  • Final Fly-Off competition featuring five separate missions testing specific skills and capabilities relevant to public good missions

 

A list of important dates is set forth below:

DescriptionDate

Competition Launch

Public Comment period opens

February 6, 2024
Public Comment period closesApril 8, 2024
Stage 1 Submission deadlineOctober 9, 2024
Stage 1 Winners announcedNovember 20, 2024

Stage 2 Registration deadline

Stage 2 Submission deadline

June 18, 2025
Stage 2 Winners announcedAugust 6, 2025
Stage 3 Qualifying openAugust 5, 2026
Stage 3 Registration deadlineNovember 4, 2026
Stage 3 Qualifying deadlineDecember 15, 2026
Final Fly-OffFebruary 5, 2027

 

REGISTRATION AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS

To compete in the GoAERO Prize, the participant must be a registered Team that has been approved by GoAERO. Note that the information below is only a summary for your convenience.  For full details, please refer to the legal documents for each Stage referred to below.

STAGE 1:

Innovators can compete in Stage 1 both as Individual Innovators and in groups which we refer to as Teams.  To begin the registration process for Stage 1 (the Paper Report Stage of the Competition) and be accepted to participate, you must:

  1. Sign the Stage 1 Competition Agreement
  2. Sign the Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  3. Sign the In-kind Sponsor Benefit Agreement

All forms can be found here, and all may be accepted and submitted online.   

Submission of the documents will enable access to the Stage 1 submission form for competing.  There is no registration fee, but upon submission of a Team’s Stage 1 competition entry, there will be a fee of $250 for Individual Innovators or a fee of $500 for Teams with two or more persons.

 

STAGE 2 and STAGE 3:

There is a big difference between designing on paper and actual building/flying, so the documents involved for the different Stages of the GoAERO Prize vary as well.  In order to proceed from Stage 1 (the paper, technical specifications Stage of the competition) into the actual building (Stages 2 and 3 of the Competition), ALL Teams must submit an additional application and be accepted as a Stage 2 or Stage 3 Team by GoAERO. Under no circumstances should any off-paper work, building or testing take place before a Team is formally admitted into Stage 2 or Stage 3 of the GoAERO Prize. Should any work be done off-paper before being accepted into Stage 2 or Stage 3 in contravention of the foregoing, such work is done entirely outside the scope of the GoAERO Prize.

Prior to the Stage 1 submission deadline, Teams wishing to be considered for acceptance as a competitor in Stage 2 of the Competition (which acceptance will be in the sole discretion of GoAERO) must sign the Extension and Amendment of Stage 1 Competition Agreement (which is attached to the Stage 1 Competition Agreement). 

The Stage 2 and 3 Application forms will be available in Summer 2024. Each Team that participates in Stage 2 and 3 is required to complete the package of legal documents which will govern those Stages of the Competition, including the following:

  • Master Team Agreement
  • Certificate of Insurance (as required by the Master Team Agreement)
  • Updated Team Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  • Updated Team Member Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  • Media Rights Agreement
  • Warrant Agreement, including the Company Questionnaire and the other documents referenced therein.

Of note, Stage 2 and 3 Teams must register and participate as legal entities, and not as individuals.  See “Eligibility” below for further details.


FOR ALL STAGES OF THE COMPETITION:

Teams must sign all legal documents and comply with all requirements therein to be admitted to the Competition.  Once GoAERO determines that a Team has complied with all requirements of the legal documents and these Competition Guidelines, it will notify the Team that it is approved for entry into the Competition.

Each Team shall designate a Team Member to act as “Team Leader”. The Team Leader will be responsible for communicating with GoAERO and the Judging Panel. The Team Leader (and all Team Members) must be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence, if such age is older than 18 years). A Team may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal.  The Team has sole responsibility for adding and removing Team Members.

At registration, each Team must list the individuals that are part of the Team (the Team Members), including all individuals or entities involved in the design, development, or testing of the Team’s Submission, including employees. All Team Members must register at the Competition website and sign the Stage 1 Competition Agreement. Teams may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal. The Team has sole responsibility for adding and removing Team Members. 

Teams may revise registration information at any time and are responsible for keeping information up to date. All Teams wishing to continue on to Stage II and III must be legal entities (not individuals) and must complete all Stage 2 and III legal documents by the Stage 2 and 3 registration deadlines. New Teams who have not participated in Stage 1 or Stage 2 are still eligible to participate in Stage 3 by completing registration documents by the Stage 3 registration deadline.

As part of this Competition, GoAERO may receive some of the Team’s and Team Members’ personal information. The collection, use, and disclosure of this information will be governed by GoAERO’s Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy includes several ways to contact GoAERO with questions.  By submitting such information, the Team agrees that (i) GoAERO may use the personal information collected as described in the Privacy Policy and (ii) GoAERO may disclose such Team’s and Team Members’ contact information and Competition registration information to Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, other Competition sponsors, and GoAERO’s affiliates and investors.  Each Team expressly authorizes each of the foregoing to contact the Team if it so desires.  Teams have the right to access, withdraw, and correct their personal information. 

 

ELIGIBILITY

Stage 1 Eligibility:

Individual Innovators: The Competition is open to individual Innovators who (a) are at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in his/her jurisdiction of residence if it is older than 18), (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Stage 1 Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures.

Exclusions: Individual Innovators may not be (a) an employee of Boeing or Pratt & Whitney (or an affiliate) or a member of any such employee’s immediate family, (b) located in a jurisdiction where participation in the Competition is prohibited or otherwise restricted by law (or an individual with a residence in or who is a national of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine) or (c) subject to export controls or sanctions of the U.S.

Business Entities:  The Competition is open to legal entities that wish to compete as a Team and (a) are validly formed and in existence under applicable law, (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Stage 1 Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation by the Team or any Team Member of any third-party rights or obligations.    

Exclusions:  Entity Innovators must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine, or be subject to export controls or sanctions of the United States.  

 

Stage 2 and Stage 3 Eligibility:

Among other requirements, Stage 2 and 3 of the Competition are only open to business entities that wish to compete as a Team and (a) are validly formed and in existence under applicable law, (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Master Team Agreement, (c) have completed the full package of required legal documents, and (d) are able to participate without violation by the Team or any Team Member of any third-party rights or obligations.    

All Team Members must (a) be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in his/her jurisdiction of residence if it is older than 18), (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Master Team Agreement and all other GoAERO legal documents, and (c) be able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures.

Exclusions: A Team Member may not be (a) an employee of Boeing or Pratt & Whitney (or an affiliate) or a member of any such employee’s immediate family, (b) located in a jurisdiction where participation in the Competition is prohibited or otherwise restricted by law (or an individual with a residence in or who is a national of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea,  Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine) or (c) subject to export controls or sanctions of the U.S.  Additionally, Teams must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine or be subject to export controls or sanctions of the United States. In all cases, each Team’s legal documents, forms and questionnaires are subject to GoAERO’s review and approval.

Each Team’s compliance with these requirements and eligibility for the Competition will be determined by GoAERO in its sole discretion.  Only Teams meeting all of the eligibility requirements set forth in the Master Team Agreement as determined by GoAERO and who are otherwise qualified and accepted by GoAERO will be recognized as participants in the Competition. 

Each Team must obey all local, national, and international laws in undertaking any activities related to the Competition.  Teams must also acquire all necessary licenses, waivers, and/or permits from the applicable regulatory bodies or other applicable third parties. GoAERO is not required to advise Team regarding such legal and regulatory compliance, and GoAERO shall have no responsibility for a Team’s compliance with laws and disclaims any responsibility for advising on the applicability of laws or regulations or a Team’s compliance therewith.  GoAERO’s acceptance of a Team into the Competition does not constitute approval of that Team’s compliance with laws applicable to it.

 

TEAM SUBMISSIONS

For each Stage of the Competition, Teams will be required to submit the materials and writings described in these Guidelines (“Submissions”).  All Submissions must comply with the following requirements:

  • Except for purchased or licensed content, any Submission must be original work of Team;
  • Submissions must include only content (including any technical information, algorithms, designs, music, audio, visual or illustrative content, including logos, images, graphics, art, or other content, information, or materials protected by any intellectual property right) that Team owns or has proper rights to use;
  • Team is required to disclose any purchased or licensed content that is part of a Submission.
  • Submissions must not contain any incomplete, corrupt, damaged, or malicious material;
  • Submissions must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, copyright, trade secret, patent, trademark, publicity or other intellectual property rights;
  • Submissions must not disparage GoAERO, any Competition sponsor, any GoAERO affiliate or investor or any of their respective affiliates, officers, directors or employees;
  • Submissions must not contain material that is inappropriate, offensive, indecent, obscene, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous and must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age; and
  • Submissions must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of, or contrary to laws or regulations.

 

JUDGING PANEL

INDEPENDENT JUDGING PANEL

No Judge, nor any member of Judge’s immediate family, shall participate in any Team. All members of the Judging Panel will promptly disclose to GoAERO any such current, former, or expected future conflict of interest with GoAERO, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and/or any Team or Team Member.

ROLE OF THE JUDGING PANEL

The duties and responsibilities of the Judging Panel will include, but not be limited to: (i) evaluating a Teams’ compliance with the Master Team Agreement, these Competition Guidelines, and the Rules and Regulations for the purposes of the Competition; and (ii) the awarding of points and selection of Teams that will receive prizes for each Stage of the Competition.

GROUNDS FOR JUDGING PANEL DECISIONS

Official decisions made by the Final Round Judging Panel will be approved by a majority of the Judges that vote on such decision after careful consideration of the testing protocols, procedures, guidelines, rules, regulations, criteria, results, and scores set forth in the Master Team Agreement and these Competition Guidelines. If any vote of the Judges results in a tie, then the Judging Panel shall determine, in its sole and absolute discretion, the mechanism to settle the tie. Similarly, if one or more Teams are tied at any stage during the competition, the Judging Panel shall have the sole and absolute discretion to settle the tie. 

DECISIONS OF THE JUDGING PANEL ARE FINAL

The Judging Panel shall have sole and absolute discretion: (i) to allocate duties among the Judges; (ii) to determine the degree of accuracy and error rate that is acceptable to the Judging Panel for all competition calculations, measurements, and results, where not specified in the Rules and Regulations; (iii) to determine the methodology used by the Judging Panel to render its decisions; (iv) to declare the winners of the competition; and (v) to award the prize purses and other awards. Decisions of the Judging Panel shall be binding on Teams and each Team Member. Teams agree not to dispute any decision or ruling of the Judging Panel, including decisions regarding the degree of accuracy or error rate of any competition calculations, measurements, and results. Teams shall have no right to observe other Teams’ testing or evaluation, or to be informed of other Teams’ calculations, measurements, and results, unless such information is made publicly available by GoAERO. 

 

TEAM SAFETY RESPONSIBILITY

Competition teams are solely responsible for the safe operation of their vehicles. This includes the safety of the operator, the vehicle, and any object or person on the ground. The organizers of the competition will not assess the adequacy of the submission from a safety perspective. The competition team is solely responsible for identifying all risks, mitigating them to the maximum extent possible, and determining if the residual risk is acceptable.

 

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE AND CURRENCY

The official language of the Competition is English. All communications with GoAERO must be in English. All references to currency are expressed in United States Dollars (USD).

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Challenge Updates

GoAERO Technical Rules Webinar Recording

March 1, 2024, 9 a.m. PST by GoAERO Prize

Thank you to all those who joined us for the first GoAERO Technical Rules Webinar. You will find the recording below. The Q&A begins at 30:10 should you wish to begin there; also, by clicking "more" in the caption box, and then "Transcript," you will be able to see the full text of the webinar in English.

If you missed the webinar and would like to join us for the next one, please register here:

March 19th, 3pm PT/ 6pm ET.

Thank you!

 

 


GoAERO Rules Webinar Tomorrow!

Feb. 28, 2024, 7 a.m. PST by GoAERO Prize

Join us tomorrow, Thursday, February 29th, 6am PT/ 9am ET, for the first GoAERO Technical Rules webinar.

Register now: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1617079249435/WN_3EIPuk6oTn6x_MO2Ju9CQA

We will cover the guidelines, technical requirements, and timeline in-depth. Please be sure to review herox.com/goaero, Summary, beforehand and come prepared with your questions.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ready, Set, GoAERO!


Register for an upcoming GoAERO Technical Rules Webinar

Feb. 14, 2024, 9 a.m. PST by GoAERO Prize

Congratulations on joining the GoAERO community! 

We will be holding two webinars to provide you with an in-depth review of the GoAERO technical rules, guidelines and schedule, with plenty of time for Q&A. 

Please register in advance:

Thursday, February 29th, 6am PT/ 9am ET:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1617079249435/WN_3EIPuk6oTn6x_MO2Ju9CQA

OR

Tuesday, March 19th, 3pm PT/ 6pm ET: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/5317079249552/WN_du7MybR5TYuDIhsxS3r2Pw

In the meantime, we encourage you to read the guidelines carefully and prepare any questions in advance. The Forum is also a great place to engage with your fellow innovators, or you can contact us directly at info@goaeroprize.com. 

We look forward to transforming the future of emergency response technology, together!

The GoAERO Team


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