First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge (UAS 4.0)

Use your UAS expertise to support first responders' indoor operations

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Funding Award
  • Submission Deadline
    Phase 1 open until 07/15/22 05:59 PM PDT
  • Industry Focus
    Technology demonstration and hardware Scientific

UAS 4.0 will support the public safety community and its stakeholders to improve situational awareness and to save lives while operating in potentially dangerous indoor environments.

Challenge Details


$685,000 Stage 1
Up to 20 prizes - $5,000 (each), up to $100,000 total Stage 2.1
Up to 15*- $7,500 (each), up to $112,500 total *Up to 5 additional teams will be awarded an invite to Stage 2.2 but not a cash award. Stage 2.2
Up to 15 - $7,500 (each), up to $112,500 total in travel awards Stage 3

  • One (1) Grand Prize - $100,000
  • One (1) Second Place - $70,000accc
  • One (1) Third Place - $45,000
  • One (1) Fourth Place - $30,000
  • One (1) Fifth Place - $25,000
  • Up to six (6) Best-in-Class Awards - $15,000 (each), up to $90,000 total A grand total of up to $685,000 in prizes.


    A contestant (whether an individual, private entity, or team (“contestant” herein)) must have registered to participate and complied with all of the requirements under Section 105 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-358), as amended by Section 401 of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2016 (Pub. L. No. 114-329) and codified in 15 U.S.C. §3719 (hereinafter “America COMPETES Act” or “15 U.S.C. §3719) as contained herein. A contestant who registers or submits an entry (whether an individual, private entity, or team or anyone acting on behalf of a private entity or team) to participate in this challenge represents that they have read, understood and agree to all terms and conditions of the Official Rules.

    To be eligible to win a cash prize, a contestant must register as an individual, private entity, or team as defined below:

  • Individual: a person age 18 or older at time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories.
  • Private Entity: a company, institution, or other organization that is incorporated in and maintains a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.
  • Team: a group of individuals or a group of private entities, with at least one member of the team meeting the definition for either Individual or Private Entity.
  • Contestants not eligible for cash prizes: a contestant that enters the challenge without the ability to claim a cash prize based on the eligibility requirements above. Contestants not eligible for cash prizes must be 18 years or older at time of entry and cannot be individuals on the denied persons list nor from entities or countries sanctioned by the United States Government.

  • For all contestants, general eligibility requirements include:
  • Contestants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.
  • Contestants may not be a NIST employee.
  • Non-NIST Federal employees acting in their personal capacities should consult with their respective agency ethics officials to determine whether their participation in this challenge is permissible. A contestant shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during this challenge if the Federal employees and facilities are made available to all contestants on an equitable basis.
  • Contestants may not be a NIST contractor or associate, or private entity providing services to NIST acting within the scope of their contract, employment, or funding or acquisition agreement with NIST which would involve the use of NIST funding to support a contestant’s participation in the challenge.
  • Contestants may not be individuals or private entities which provide program support services to NIST including strategic planning, project / program management, communications, reporting, program evaluation, or other similar services to NIST.
  • Individuals who are former NIST Federal employees or NIST associates are not eligible to enter as an individual or member of a team for 365 days from their last date of paid employment or association with NIST with the exception of individuals in a student internship, experiential learning, or similar temporary employment status.
  • Any individuals (including an individual’s parent, spouse, or child) or private entities involved with the design, production, execution, distribution or evaluation of the challenge are not eligible to enter as an individual or member of a team.
  • Employees of any official co-sponsoring entities are not eligible to enter.
  • A contestant (whether participating as an individual, private entity, or member of a team) must not have been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the preceding 24 months and must not have any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability.
  • Contestants must not be suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from doing business with the Federal Government.
  • Individuals currently receiving NIST funding through a grant or cooperative agreement are eligible to compete but may not utilize the NIST funding for competing in this challenge.
  • Previous and current PSCR prize challenge contestants are eligible to enter.

  • Winners who are found to be ineligible for cash prizes may still be publicly recognized. In the event that the prize award normally allotted to the place or rank of an ineligible winner occurs, the cash prize will be awarded to the next eligible winner in the series or ranking. Throughout the challenge, winners who are ineligible for cash prizes will continue to have opportunities to have their work viewed and appreciated by stakeholders from industry, government and academic communities.

    Summary of Challenge outlines the official rules for the First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge. Nothing within this section or in any supporting documents shall be construed as obligating the Department of Commerce, NIST, or any other Federal agency or instrumentality to any expenditure of appropriated funds, or any obligation or expenditure of funds in excess of or in advance of available appropriations.

    Summary of Challenge The following is a summary of each contest stage. For more information, please review the full terms and conditions for each contest as provided in the Official Rules for the First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge.

    Stage 1: Solution Description
    The Solution Description stage invites all eligible contestants to complete Solution Description submission requirements. Contestants’ solutions will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts (SMEs) and judges who will make their selections based on the clarity of the submission, the feasibility of the solution, and how well the submission addresses the Challenge Use Case and UAS Design Specifications.
  • Up to 20 contestants will receive awards including invitations to advance to Stage 2: Design, Prototype Build & Safety Evaluation and/or cash prize awards.

  • Stage 2: Design, Prototype Build & Safety Evaluation This stage has two milestones for contestants to demonstrate progression in the design of their solutions, development of a working prototype, and compliance with the safety requirements.

    Stage 2.1: Design Review
    In this stage, contestants will develop their designs to build their prototype UAS solutions according to the specifications and required safety standards. They will submit design review materials.
  • Up to 15 contestants will receive cash prize awards and an invitation to advance Stage 2.2. Five additional contestants may win an invitation to continue to Stage 2.2.

  • Stage 2.2: Prototype Build & Safety Evaluation
    In this stage, contestants will purchase and/or create the hardware necessary to implement the design approach outlined within their Solution Description and refined in the design. Contestants may take part in a series of design reviews to demonstrate progress towards achieving the teams’ proposed designs, culminating in the final video evaluation.

    Walk-on Evaluation
    As part of Stage 2.2, Walk-on Contestant entries will be evaluated with an opportunity to advance to Stage 3.
  • Up to 15 contestants (which may include Stage 2.1 Winners and/or Walk-on Contestants) will be selected to receive cash prize awards, and invitations to participate in the Stage 3: Live Test & Evaluation.
  • Stage 3: Live Test & Evaluation
    The Live Test & Evaluation Contest is the final stage of the challenge and consists of the live competition (location will be announced later). Stage 2 winners will travel to the Live Event site to compete in Stage 3. All contestants will be required to complete a UAS safety check prior to demonstrating their prototype UAS capabilities. Contestants who pass the initial compliance review will be evaluated and scored by a panel of judges, and based on those scores, may receive cash prize awards.

    For complete rules, see Official Rules for the First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge.

  • Future Phases

    Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.