California Team Wins $100,000 In DJI SDK Search And Rescue Challenge


California Team Wins $100,000 In DJI SDK Search And Rescue Challenge
Search and Rescue Competition With Ford And United Nations Development Programme Demonstrates Lifesaving Ideas From Around The World For $100,000 Grand Prize

August 28, 2016 – DJI, the world’s leading maker of unmanned aerial vehicles, joined Ford Motor Company and the United Nations Development Programme to host the company’s annual SDK Challenge on Sunday in Rome, N.Y. The winning team, Autero from San Rafael, California beat nine other finalists to claim the $100,000 prize. The 10 finalists used DJI’s Software Development Kit (SDK) to write programs that autonomously launched DJI drones from the bed of a moving Ford F-150 pickup, guided them through a simulated disaster site to identify victims and returned to land back on the vehicle.                                                                                           
“We thank all the teams that submitted ideas, especially the finalists, as well as Ford, the United Nations Development Programme and Griffiss International Airport for all their efforts to make this challenge a success,” said Robert Schlub, Vice President, Research and Development, DJI.  “Today’s challenge pitted some of the world’s smartest groups of developers against each other, and their combined efforts to develop groundbreaking search and rescue technology are a major advance in disaster relief and may someday save lives around the world.”

“At Ford we’re all about making people’s lives better and when I look at this opportunity combining the work with the United Nations Development Programme and DJI and leveraging our technology, it’s absolutely a way for us to deliver on that,” said Don Butler, Ford’s Executive Director, Connected Vehicles and Services.

“The Griffiss Test Site has established itself as a robust center for the research and development of Unmanned Aerial Systems, so it is fitting that top drone research teams from around the globe flocked to Rome to showcase their search and rescue capabilities. UAS technology is bringing lifesaving innovation to the world, and the Mohawk Valley has been at the forefront of advancing these capabilities from day one. This collaboration with Ford, the United Nations and DJI adds the long list of public and private stakeholders that have used our test site as the launching pad for the future,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.
“New York State is proud to be leading the way in the emerging unmanned aircraft systems industry,” said Howard Zemsky, President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development. “Events like the SDK Challenge and the upcoming 2016 UTM Convention, which we’ll be hosting in the Syracuse area this November, demonstrate the limitless potential and innovation of the UAS industry.”
There were a record 130 proposals for the annual DJI Developer Challenge with 10 finalists competing for the grand prize. The 10 finalists from universities and research groups around the world built their solutions with DJI’s Software Development Kit (SDK). They competed in a disaster scenario at the FAA-designated drone test site at Griffiss International Airport.
Professional-quality photos and video from the competition will be made available next week.
For additional information, photos and video, please contact:
Sarah Elliott, Communications Director, West Coast –
About DJI
DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing innovative drone and camera technology for commercial and recreational use. DJI was founded and is run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight-control technology and camera stabilization. The company is dedicated to making aerial photography and filmmaking equipment and platforms more accessible, reliable and easier to use for creators and innovators around the world. DJI’s global operations currently span across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and its revolutionary products and solutions have been chosen by customers in over 100 countries for applications in filmmaking, construction, emergency response, agriculture, conservation and many other industries.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford aggressively is pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit
About UNDP
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
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