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NATO announced the winners of the Project X challenge, a student design competition aimed at investigating how autonomous drones can carry out tasks in areas inaccessible to humans. The award ceremony took place at the Unmanned Valley – located in Katwijk aan Zee, on the Dutch coast.

Team Alpha won with their drone collaborative system, incentivizing aircraft to explore and identify targets and areas of interest. In this model, a mission controller sets up the tasks drones have to complete, rewarding them with a token system. UAVs’ GPS measurements help acquire accurate information – which comes in handy in the event of an emergency situation. To do that, drones communicate with each other. It is a scalable solution where the more drones deployed, the more accurate the calculations can be made.

The Project-X challenge was launched by NATO – in collaboration with Boeing, the Dutch Minister of Defense, and the Unmanned Valley – last February, involving 30 students from the TU Delft and Leiden University. Two teams of five students each passed on to the second stage of the challenge -Team Alpha and Team Monarch.

Students had 12 weeks to develop and prototype their solution, working at the Unmanned Valley’s facility. Team Alpha will now showcase its solution during Madrid’s NATO summit next week.