NXP’s HoverGames 2 competition seeks ways for drones to help humans during a pandemic

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NXP wants to find creative pandemic solutions with a drone competition.
Image: Unsplash | David Henrichs

Drones are becoming a regular part of life in today’s world. Their emergence has only been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. NXP Semiconductors wants to ensure that momentum isn’t lost anytime soon.

The chipmaker is hosting a coding competition called HoverGames. It seeks unique solutions that make drones more useful in the face of a pandemic—whether it’s this one or a future one. For savvy coders, there is a prize pool of $14,000 up for grabs. Plus, of course, the knowledge that your drone ideas are helping people.

Round Two

Today’s “normal” way of life has been significantly disrupted by the coronavirus. The widespread death and destruction it has caused also underlines the vital need for technology. Individuals and companies alike have pioneered smart new solutions to keep people safe and healthy in a time where social interaction is dangerous.

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If the name HoverGames sounds familiar, that’s because NXP previously hosted another contest of the same name. Its latest competition focuses specifically on the COVID-19 pandemic and ways that drones can be useful. There is certainly no shortage of applications for flying robots in today’s world.

Participants in the NXP HoverGames 2 competition will develop creative, drone-based solutions that help people during a global pandemic. The company says that each project drone “should be able to carry out its mission as autonomously as possible, with the help of your code.”

There are few limits on how coders can attack the problem. For instance, a drone could be used to help communicate from afar or deliver vital medications autonomously and both would be considered for the competition. The HoverGames page also mentions uses like disinfecting surfaces, dispensing hand sanitizer, and collecting COVID-19 test samples.

NXP says, “We need to learn lessons from the past and find innovative ways to connect with each other, protect the vulnerable and meet critical demands in global health crises of the future. This is precisely what the NXP HoverGames seek to accomplish.”

Premium Components

Individuals who sign up to compete in the latest HoverGames challenge will use NXP’s HoverGames drone development kit. The modular platform takes advantage of the chipmaker’s premium components. It also supports PX4, the world’s largest commercially deployed open-source flight stack.

Notably, competitors get to include vision solutions in their drones this time around.

The HoverGames 2 challenge features a significant prize pool for coders to try and win a piece of. Judges will include NXP and several of its partners, including Arm, Dronecode, Emcraft, and Auterion. The first-place winner of the competition will receive $3,000, followed by $2,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. Forty runners up will receive early access mobile robotics hardware from NXP that is worth at least $100. Finally, four special prize categories, like ‘Best use of PX4,’ will be worth $1,000 each.

Those who want to participate in NXP’s latest HoverGames challenge have until November 30 to submit their projects. Applications for drone hardware close on July 31.

When winners are announced in December, it will be very interesting to see the many uses for drones that competitors dream up.

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