63 teams signed up for the 2016 Outback Medical Express UAV Challenge. The competition has 3 selection rounds during the year before the even where teams must prove their capabilities and safety. Only 10 teams were accepted to actually participate in the event in Dalby, Australia, but only 9 showed up with a working airframe. At the event all teams must pass a strict safety analysis and testing called scrutineering. DelftaCopter was the first team to pass all safety tests successfully.
Random selection placed DelftaCopter from the TUDelft MavLab as the 6th team to fly the mission. Only 3 teams managed to fly to the rescue location to pick up the blood sample from Outback Joe. ISAAC-UAV team had an electric fire of their electric helicopter. The next participant to arrive at the rescue location was DelftaCopter. Unfortunately the selected landing location came too close to a very tall Australian gum tree and it landed in the top of the tree, and the mission had to be aborted. Finally Camberra UAV had 2 airframes arriving at the pickup location but their gas engine helicopter also went down. This means no team completed the mission according to the rules. The main prize was not issued but all teams still got a score based on all aspects of their participation.
DelftaCopter won the second prize thanks to the fact it completed a large part of the mission. The flight was very smooth and performance was exactly as expected. The transition from hover to forward flight and back went perfectly and the team was proud of their achievement. Although the complete mission was not finished, given the very long distance flight (44 kilometer return flight), rough outback conditions including whirlwinds, longrange low bitrate datalinks (including satellite communication), difficult conditions for its automatic onboard computer vision and landing in between tents, trees, pools and long grass, the team is very proud of their achievement and second place.
As icing on the cake, the team was awarded the “Airmanship Award” for its good team cooperation and organization, good procedures and decision making, calm appearance and professional attitude. The team wants to thank the organization of the Outback Medical Express for this very well organized and amazing event.