25–29 June 2018
Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia

Innovative Drone Exploration and Application (IDEA) Competition

IDEA Competition

When it comes to autonomous aerial vehicles—the sky is the limit! With that in mind, AIAA and Drone World Expo have come together to challenge you. We want to encourage new ideas that connect the UAS-related R&D and end-user communities.

The objective of the competition is providing a platform for sharing ideas and research related to the design, utilization, and applications of autonomous aerial systems.

The AIAA Unmanned Systems Program Committee and Drone World Expo (DWE) will select three finalists to present their work at DWE, 3-4 October 2017, in San Jose, CA. Winners will receive a $2,500 travel stipend and complimentary DWE registration.

We are soliciting submissions related to:     

  • Vehicle technologies
  • Integration technologies
  • National airspace integration
  • Autonomy
  • Robotics
  • Machine intelligence
  • UAS Traffic Management
  • Propulsion and power technologies
  • Command, control and communications technologies

Competition Rules


  • The competition is open to individuals of high school-level and above.
  • Entrants are invited to describe on-going, currently funded research. There are no research funds associated with this competition.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • Winners are expected to travel to San Jose in October 2017 to present during Drone World Expo (DWE).
  • Winners will be provided a travel stipend not to exceed $2500 and a complimentary registration to DWE. If a team enters and wins, only one representative will receive the travel stipend and present at DWE.
  • Winners will adhere to deadlines and expectations related to participation in the DWE session.
  • This competition does not involve opportunities to present ideas to investors or request funding from DWE attendees.
  • Winning presentations must be approved for public release and will be posted on AIAA and DWE websites and distributed via other social media platforms. However, competition participants retain all intellectual property associated with the material they submit.

    Competition Timeline

    Abstracts due: 28 June 2017  (NLT 2359 hrs ET)

    • The abstract should describe your UAS-related research and why you think it would be of interest/benefit to the end user community. Abstracts should be 500 words or less in PDF format

    Evaluation of abstracts: by 14 July 2017

    • Abstracts will be evaluated on technical merit, relevance to end user community, innovation, and potential for unique applications.

    Notification of top 10 entrants: 17 July 2017

    • Semifinalists will be invited to submit a presentation outline for the next round of the competition.

    Presentation due: 4 August 2017 (NLT 2359 hrs ET)

    • Presentations will be in PowerPoint format with 6 charts or less that include:
      • Goals/objectives of the research
      • Background (why is this research important)
      • Specifics of the research, including important research milestones
      • Timeline of technology development

    Evaluation of presentations: by 21 August 2017

    • Presentations will be evaluated on technical merit, relevance to end user community, innovation, potential for unique applications, and presentation quality.

    Notification of winners: 1 September 2017

    • The top 3 presentations will be selected and the winners will receive a $2500 travel stipend and complimentary Drone World Expo registration.

    Presentations by top 3 winners at Drone World Expo: 3-4 October 2017

    • Winners will travel to Drone World Expo and present their research results at a session organized and sponsored by AIAA.

    Submit an Idea button
    IDEA Competition Co-Sponsors

    AIAA-logo DroneWorldExpoLogo AIAA Members are invited to attend the DRONE World Expo for free. Apply for your complimentary pass here and enter the VIP code AIAAVIP.

    Dates to Remember

    • Abstract Deadline: 09 Nov 2017
    • Manuscript Deadline: 16 May 2018
    • Early Bird Reg Deadline: 04 Jun 2018
    • Cancellation Deadline: 11 Jun 2018

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