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Deep Drone Challenge

The startup incubator brigkAIR and the defense tech company MBDA Germany are looking for participants aged 18 and older for a highly remunerated competition in the field of drone technology and machine learning. Participants can win up to €50,000 in prize money.


Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we had to postpone the WarmUp and the Final of the Deep Drone Challenge 2020.


What is the Deep Drone Challenge?

As drones are increasingly used in a variety of areas, such as industrial inspection, surveying, emergency response and delivery, there is a growing demand for the development of innovative software solutions for the automation and improvement of such missions. The Deep Drone Challenge is a drone competition that is intended to accelerate the development of such drone applications and enable new approaches.

We are looking for enthusiasts, startups and students from diverse backgrounds, such as aviation, artificial intelligence and robotics, to solve different problems in interdisciplinary teams. Thereby, participants can choose between two challenge designs:

Track #1: The Drone Bot

“After departure, climb straight ahead Munich 2 DME”.

For today’s manned aircrafts, it’s no big deal to communicate with Air Traffic Controllers (ATC). Now imagine, it would be just as natural for drones to understand voice commands – amazing, right? No surprise that the special feature in the Drone Bot challenge is natural voice communication.

Your mission: Use voice recognition technologies to command a CityAirbus flight from Ingolstadt main station to Munich airport. The CityAirbus is flying autonomously from its departure to its destination and has to communicate with the tower like usual aircrafts, due to a lack of UTM. In doing so, ATC shouldn’t notice any difference in communication compared to a normal aircraft pilot.

The challenge: You need to ask for permissions and command take-off, flight, changes during the flight and landing of the drone via voice recognition in real-time. Suddenly appearing external commands, obstacles and conditions will trigger your inner genius to make your drone a master of voice recognition.

Minimum requirements of the challenge:

  • Language: English
  • Command to adjust flight altitude
  • Command to hover/halt
  • Command to return to departure
  • Identification

Additional requirements for extra points:

  • Command to adjust flight route
  • Command to adapt to weather changes
  • Command change of destination
  • Respond and react to local events (e.g. police operation, demonstration etc.)
  • Respond and react to crossing traffic
  • Command to change in frequency
  • Ability to handle noise levels, other languages and dialects
  • Variance of Command Deployment
  • Speed of responds and action
  • Implementation and creativity of own additional capabilities (this is your freestyle)

Success factors:

  • Fly within the given 3-dimensional geofence
  • 3 attempts to understand a command
  • 5 min in total to solve challenge
  • 2 extra min for solving additional requirements
  • Completion of 2 successful landings (return to departure, final destination)
  • Fly autonomously – use of remote control only as backup solution



  • 25x25x25m (w/h/l) 3D airspace to operate in
  • Resized props like Tower, Start and Landing Vertiport and other decoration
  • Camera drone in the air to overlook the situation
  • Live radio module to communicate

Track #2: The Pathfinder

For autonomously flying drones, swerving to avoid objects has always been an essential skill. Now, our environments are constantly changing, and urban air mobility is on the rise, making autonomous situational awareness a real superpower for the future. The Pathfinder track is making use of this skill, by challenging your drone in a thrilling autonomous flight mission.

Your mission: Your help is needed at a rescue operation at Pfaffenhofen main station. A missing defibrillator is needed there asap. Therefore, your duty is to transport the nearest available defibrillator, which is located at Ingolstadt main station, as quickly as possible to the point of care. As the situation on site is unclear and every second counts in this mission, your drone needs to autonomously find the fastest and most optimal path to reach the scenery. 

The challenge: While trying to reach the destination as fast as possible, your drone will have to overcome suddenly appearing physical as well as virtual obstacles. Prepare for these obstacles by making sure your companion responds autonomously to dynamic changes of situation. Agility and a high level of responsiveness are your key to success in this challenge.

Minimum requirements of the challenge:

  • Speed autonomous flight from departure to destination
  • Overcome at least 1 virtual obstacle (QR Marker based)
  • Overcome at least 2 physical obstacles


Additional requirements for extra points:

  • Identify and respond to other moving objects
  • Implementation and creativity of own additional capabilities (this is your freestyle)


Success factors:

  • Fly within the given 3-dimensional geofence
  • Overcome at least 3 obstacles in total
  • Find the optimal path
  • 5 min in total to solve challenge
  • 2 extra min for solving additional requirements
  • Fly autonomously – use of remote control only as backup solution
  • No collision with a physical obstacle



  • 25x25x100-300m (w/h/l) 3D airspace to operate in
  • Resized props as obstacles and other decoratopn
  • QR codes for virtual obstacles
  • Camera drone in the air to overlook the situation

Who are we looking for?


Anyone from an age of 18 and onwards can participate – students, professionals, hobbyists, inventors and many more. 

Knowledge and interests in the fields of computer science, mechanical engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence are an advantage. 


Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we had to postpone the WarmUp and the Final of the Deep Drone Challenge 2021.

To participate in the Deep Drone Challenge, please apply alone or with a team of up to 5 people by October 4th, 2020.
After selecting the final participants, the challenge will be carried out in two events (WarmUp and Final) and involves tasks related to the private use of drones.
For the challenge itself, participants preferably can bring, build and develop their own drone prototype to fulfill the tasks. But we will also provide limited drone platforms if requested. As of now, participants can start to create their prototype at home or later on on-site with access to the provided platforms.
The best performing team has the chance to win the competition.

What do you get?

Up to €50,000
prize money



Unique event

food and goodies




The basis of the evaluation present parameters like precision, flight time and novelty. 

The evaluation is carried out by an expert jury consisting of of representatives from business and politics. 

 #staytuned! The jury members will be announced soon!

Apply, win and fly! 

Under all applications we will give away a NVIDIA Jetson Nano and a Holybro X500 Kit incl. Pixhawk 4.

Use the chance and apply until October 4th – good luck!

Get ready to disrupt the drone industry

The application period for the Deep Drone Challenge 2020 is already closed.


Most frequent questions and answers

No, the property of developed hard- and software solutions remains 100% with the participants.

Register your team here. Please make sure that the registration form is completed before submitting. 

The prize up to 50.000 € will be awarded to the highest performing team in the final event.

You can either participate with your team, which is limited to 5 people.
If you do not have a team you can also apply alone and join a team.

The more knowledge you have in the field, the better your chances are to win in the Deep Drone Challenge. Nevertheless, you will compete as a team, so you can simply build your A-Team by joining forces with more experienced colleagues. 

No, it’s up to your team which challenge you will work on. Choose between Track 1: The Drone Bot or Track 2: The Pathfinder.

No costs included! We’re so excited to see you fly, we don’t want to see a single penny.

You should be at least 18 years old to join the Deep Drone Challenge. 

We will provide some drones, but it is also possible for you to bring your own drone.

According to the registration form the teams with the highest potential in solving the challenge will be selected to take part in the competition. During the WarmUp they have the opportunity to test their prototype before performing during the Final event. The only selection that will happen is during the application period based on the information that you will provide in the registration form. At the Final event a jury will judge your performance.

No, applications are open to anybody interested. The final participants will be selected by Airbus on the basis of the information provided by the applicants in the registration form. Due to the current pandemic, we may have to restrict the selection of participants to a certain extent.

You are free to decide on your own which technologies, drone designs, applications and equipment you want to use to build your prototype. The only requirement is, that the drone prototype must be able to solve the challenges of the selected track. Therefore, you can either use your own drones and equipment or use provided platforms – in the registration form applicants can state what they need 

In principle, drones will be on site as a backup during the final if necessary.
These are for example:
  • M600 DJI platforms
  • S1000 DJI
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Tello
When you register, you can indicate what you need and we will then provide items (within certain limits).

Further questions?

Contact us:

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Other questions?

Get in touch with us

Franz Glatz

CEO brigk

+49 841 14908190

Michael Buthut


+49 841 14908190