evaForge is a full Open Design UAV project encompassing Open Software, Hardware, and Mechanical design.
Initially the project was focused on producing a competitive entry into the DARPA UAV Forge challenge
We continue to pursue goals of high quality streaming video over cellular and the "perch and stare" concept paradigm. The perch and stare approach includes landing on buildings for surveillance for an extended period of time versus a staying airborne the entire mission.
What you need to know about the challenge:
The vehicle and controls must be small enough to fit in a duffel bag and carried by an individual. The UAV will be carried by the operator to a launch area, where after takeoff it will travel ~2 miles to the target area where it must observe a "Survelliance Area of Interest" for up to 3 hours by streaming realtime video to the operator at a range of 100ft. 3G cell service is available for communicating with the UAV and transmitting the video. Avoiding detection by maintaining a low visual and audio profile is preferred. After the observation the UAV will travel ~2 miles to a different location than the start location where it will rendezvous
Throughout the operation user input is expected, this is not a fully autonomous challenge. The level of autonomy is not generally specified, however points are awarded for a "simple user interface" and for autonomously landing for observation, and the following of the vehicle.
The above information is a paraphrase of the official UAV Forge document where can be found here.
Information about the Urban Training Site (UTS) at Camp Lejeune, NC where the Fly-Off will take place can be found here. The Fly-Off will no longer be at Camp Lejeune, although a new location has not been announced the announcement is expected soon. (12/19/12)
Official Score Card:
The evaForge UAV is based on the QuadShot airframe which was developed by a small group at Joby Robotics and then turned into a very successful (336% of funding goal) Kickstarter project which can be seen here. The QuadShot presents the perfect platform for the UAV Forge challenge, because it has Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capabilities as well as efficient forward flight. This is very important in the UAV Challenge because of the VTOL requirements as well as the 2 mile distance to and from the target area (4 miles total) which pose a major problem for a typical "helicopter" style quadrotor. Additionally due to it's symetrical airfoil design the QuadShot is equally happy to fly with either side of the wing facing down making it possible to put payload on either side of the airframe that can be used during different portions of the mission. For example a gimballed camera can be mounted on one side for high elevation flight, and then ranging sensors can be placed on the other side for low evevation flight, and the landing sequence.