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NASA Exploring $1.5 Million Unmanned Aircraft Competition 38

coondoggie writes "NASA today said it wants to gauge industry interest in the agency holding one of its patented Centennial Challenges to build the next cool unmanned aircraft. NASA said it is planning this Challenge in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force Research Lab, with NASA providing the prize purse of up to $1.5 million."
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NASA Exploring $1.5 Million Unmanned Aircraft Competition

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  • Whatever you do, don't call it Shirley.

  • /me Removes and Tosses the Paper Airplane.

  • Hijack this one then Muzzie
  • by Anonymous Coward

    An unmanned aircraft is *much* easier to program than a unmanned car.
    No bumpy road, no complex wheel behavior, no forced curves, barely and obstacles, and nothing that can occlude them (assuming your sensors obviously go through clouds)... and you have only one axis to care for.

    Every big plane already has automated cruising and landing for emergencies.
    The navigational aspects also are already mostly automated away in regular planes.

    Once you have the flaps and engines abstracted away, and have a working rada

    • With all those automated drones out there, I wonder what's the big deal about this anyway?

      Given how long it took to develop and deploy those drones... maybe it's not "child's play" as you seem to think.

  • patented Centennial Challenges

    A quick search of uspto shows that no such patent exists under that name...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... from the military budget? I am very sure there is a possible dual use (this time civilian -> military) of easily and cheaply getting a payload very, very high...

    While I do not want Space Warfare, Rods From God, or even only Very High Altitude Bombing... if those are the price I have to pay to get 1 or 100 billion more into the research of a civilan space program then at least I am willing to pay it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a "cool" unmanned aircraft.

    True fact.

  • ... one of its patented Centennial Challenges ...

    Patented? I understand the journalistic need for spicing up stories (hell, I was an admin on Fark) ... but even if this was a patentable idea and doesn't fall as a "buiness method", NASA had to go through hoops to even be allowed to do it. (I guess there's no room for earmarks when you can't be sure who's going to get the money).

    The NASA program didn't start 'til 2005, and was modeled after the Ansari X Prize (which was *awarded* in 2004, after years of eff

  • How about building a manned mission beyond LEO?
    • How about building a manned mission beyond LEO?

      The first A in NASA is for Aeronautics. This is entirely within their scope.

  • The first drone to assassinate the president wins the competition.
  • Figure out how to do See and Avoid reliably and bank millions. DOD ha been trying to figure this out for years.
  • ... and are you hiring? :-D

    Otherwise, I think I'll just slap an android phone onto an ARF R/C plane and go to town... it'd be funny if the platform ends up costing less than half of the $800 ADS-B receiver it has to carry :P

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI