Here is the basic information about the challenge.


A single drone must fly through a predefined circular path in the shortest amount of time and in a predetermined direction. The path is not unique, multiple different routes are available to fly through. The picture below shows a bidimensional example for simplicity, even though the challenge applies in three dimensions. Time starts when the drone takes off at the starting point. The run is concluded when the drone lands at the same take-off point, modulo some tolerance margin in the take-off location.

The path is given to you as a sequence of 3D coordinates referring to a specific localization system, as explained later. The path includes the waypoint coordinates and their order. For example, it will include the coordinates of points A, B, and C in the picture, along with every other waypoint. At every point where the path splits in multiple directions, for example, point C in the picture, an obstacle may be placed that prevents proceeding along one or more of the available directions.

When approaching a splitting point, the drone must not proceed through the path where the obstacle is currently located and choose one of the remaining paths to fly through. The number, nature, and position of the obstacles are not known a priori. Obstacles may be mobile and non-deterministically decide to move during the run, hence obstructing a different direction at a different time. Also note that, as the picture shows, it may be entirely possible that obstacles are placed in a way that a drone possibly ends up on a dead end. For example, this would happen in the picture if the drone would decide for some reason to fly through A, B, and C.

To detect and avoid obstacles, drones are required to be assisted by one of the team members. This person is allowed to enter the fly area and help the drone navigate through the obstacle course. This may include performing gestures around the drone, moving objects around the drone, and any other means of helping the drone fly through the obstacle course. However, team members cannot remotely command the drone, either directly or indirectly, for example, by sending commands to the drone from the base station or by collaborating with another member of the team. 


We provide all the necessary drone hardware.

We use the Crazyflie 2.1 nano drone. All relevant information, including tutorials and software releases, are available here. The space where the challenge takes place is instrumented with the Lighthouse positioning system. This gives precise 3D coordinates to the drone and is fully integrated with the Bitcraze software. You do not need to worry about the installation or calibration of the Lighthouse positioning system. We do that for you and you simply rely on it! Every participating team will have access to a working installation of the Lighthouse positioning system during the trials and during the actual challenge. Check out the schedule for more details.

We will also give you a catalog of extension decks for the Crazyflie nano-drone. You are free to use any combination of the decks we provide or build your own if you like, using the barebone ones we also provide. We cannot provide electronics beyond the extension decks, however. Using the sensors on-board the CrazyFlie and the extension decks, you can make the drone interact with people and objects around it. For example, you can make it follow a person or avoid an obstacle. 

All you need to bring is your computer and anything else that you think may help you work with the nano drone!


Anyone irrespective of age, profession, and past experience with drones is welcome to participate. You just need to form a team of 2 to 4 people! On the first day of the hackathon, we will run short tutorials for those with no previous drone experience. Check out the schedule for more information.

Our Research

We will be studying human–drone interactions through observation during the inaugural drone challenge. Observations will happen either in person or with the help of video recordings from the competition. We will also interview members of the participating teams. Our aim is to develop insights into how teams work together to modify and pilot the drone. Participation in the research is entirely voluntary. Choosing to not participate or to withdraw from participating (at any time, without giving a reason) does not affect the team’s opportunity to participate in the challenge or our future challenges in any way. Teams will be provided further details about participation in the research ahead of the competition, and those who decide to take part will be asked to sign a consent form at the beginning of event week.