HoverGames competition uses NXP tech to fight pandemics

June 18, 2020  - By

The robotics competition challenges participants to leverage NXP’s portfolio for small autonomous vehicles in support of fighting pandemics.

NXP Semiconductors N.V. is hosting a challenge on using drones and rovers for pandemics such as COVID-19.

HoverGames Challenge 2: Help Drones Help Others is the second installment of NXP’s challenge-based, interactive coding competition. It encourages developers to create drone and rover solutions for frontline support during pandemics.

A carbon-fiber quadcopter frame is included in the developer's kit. (Photo: NXP)

A carbon-fiber quadcopter frame is included in the developer’s kit. (Photo: NXP)

Participants will leverage NXP’s broad portfolio of automotive, industrial and IoT technologies for system control, networking, security and motor control to create solutions that can make a difference in pandemic response.

The first HoverGames took place in the summer of 2019, and was centered around firefighter response. Read about it here.

The collateral effects of pandemics leave citizens with difficult challenges to overcome. A lack of mobility, social isolation and lack of access to goods and services can be physically and psychologically devastating.

HoverGames Challenge 2 will inspire participants to develop pioneering ways to use drones to help healthcare and frontline workers overcome these barriers. The competition encourages contestants to consider the full scope of the difficulties facing society during a pandemic, apply new learning, and work cooperatively through the development of open-source code and community-tested projects to create solutions that help society prepare for future challenges.

Deadline for application is July 31. The competition closes Nov. 30, and winners will be announced in December.

Drone Developer Kit. The hardware and software of this year’s developer kit remains open, flexible and modular. The flight management unit (RDDRONE-FMUK44FMU) includes professional, automotive and industrial-grade components enabled by the PX4 flight stack. PX4 is a large commercially deployed open source flight stack and supports contemporary airframe architectures including vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft, multicopter and rover profile.

The kit also includes a strong, rigid, lightweight carbon-fiber quadcopter frame with platform, mounting rails, landing gear, motor controllers, motors and props as well as telemetry radio and remote-control radio.

This year’s kit will contain a bonus extension component, the NavQ, an i.MX8M Mini Vision development board.

Projects and lessons learned are transferable to real-world enterprise and commercial applications thanks to Auterion, the company that builds the enterprise distribution of PX4 for the commercial drone market.

“The current pandemic has exposed our vulnerability to disease and the general structural breakdown that can occur during a crisis,” said Iain Galloway, drone program lead, Systems Innovation, NXP. “But we don’t have to feel powerless in its wake. We can harness technology to make a difference. We invite you to leverage a complete functional system of hardware and software for drone and rover development and to share your creative solutions.”

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.