Frequently Asked Questions

Check the categories below for answers to some of the most common questions about our Droneworks competitions.

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2021 Competition

Yes. With the 2021 Oklahoma TSA State Conference being entirely virtual, so is Droneworks.

Participants will submit a digital research poster (MS) or digital research portfolio (HS) and record a video of their solution to the Autonomous Flight Challenge.

Online submissions due March 24, 2021.

  • Research the given theme and document the use of drones
  • Create a digital research poster (MS) or a digital research portfolio (HS)
  • Code a drone to fly pre-programmed flight paths to score the most points in an Autonomous Flight
    Challenge.
  • Fly the Autonomous Flight Challenge at school or home. Record and submit your solution as a video.

No. Due to COVID-19 and no in-person state conference, there will be no manual flight. Teams will submit a digital research project and a video showing their Autonomous Flight Challenge solution.

No. Final rankings will be determined by the total scores of the research project and the Autonomous Flight Challenge.

Teams code their drone to land autonomously on designated Target Zones within the Airspace and score as many points as possible within one (1:00) minute.

At school or home, teams will need to mark off the Airspace and Target Zones. 

Materials Needed:
– Tape Measure
– Masking or Painter’s Tape
– Paper or Cardboard (optional)

Using the given dimensions and locations, use masking or painters’ tape to mark off the perimeter of the airspace. Helipad and target zones may be marked with tape, paper squares, cardboard squares, etc.

Upload a single video showing your autonomous code (printout or on-screen), your drone flying your autonomous flight challenge solution, and your scoring recap.

Watch the Autonomous Flight Video Tutorial

 

 

The “Airspace” is the drone’s competition environment. It is an area 10 ft. long x 10 ft. wide.

The drone starts from the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” This is called the Helipad.

The drone may be started in any orientation as long as the drone remains completely within the perimeter of the Helipad.

The “Helipad” is the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” It is where the drone is to be placed before takeoff.

2021 Competition

A Target Zone is a square marked within the Airspace where the drone must land to score points. Target Zones come in three (3) sizes: 2 ft. x 2 ft, 1 ft. x 1 ft., and 6 in. x 6 in. Point values vary based on Target Zone size. Over half of a drone must be within a Target Zone to score points.

You may only land on each target zone one (1) time.

Over half of a drone must be within a Target Zone to score points.

No. Navigating the target zones can be done collectively with a single autonomous program or individually with multiple programs, or any combination in-between. If using multiple programs, the drone must always be reset and takeoff from the Helipad.

Yes. Navigating the target zones can be done collectively with a single autonomous program or individually with multiple programs, or any combination in-between. If using multiple programs, the drone must always be reset and takeoff from the Helipad.

No. Teams may switch programs during autonomous flight, but cannot change the code within a program

A spotter is allowed to hand-rescue or handle the drone during the Autonomous Flight as long as the propellers are not spinning. The spotter may return the drone to the helipad to re-run the same program or continue competition with another program.

There is no penalty for handling the drone.

There are multiple reasons your drone may not fly consistent.

First, check your battery level. Make sure you have an adequately charged battery. Once the battery capacity gets low, the drone tries to conserve power and may fly differently.

Where you are flying is the most important factor for consistent flights. Choose a location with good lighting, no shadows, and no glare on the floor. The drones use optical sensors to determine their position and need adequate light and contrast to fly accurately.

Most often this is due to the drone’s optical positioning system. The drones use optical sensors to determine their position and need adequate light and contrast to fly accurately.

Make sure you fly in a location with good lighting, no shadows, and no glare on the floor. If you are flying over an area with little contrast or patterns, the drone can get “lost.”

For the Autonomous Flight Challenge, it may be helpful to add strips of tape to make “stripes” that can help your drone determine its location.

The timer starts when the pilot starts the autonomous program.

Event

No. Droneworks is currently an event only for Oklahoma TSA members. Droneworks competitions occur at various mini-conferences and the Oklahoma State TSA Conference.

Both. Droneworks: Middle School is for Oklahoma TSA members in fifth through ninth grade. Droneworks: High School is for Oklahoma TSA members in ninth through twelfth grade.

A team of one to two (1-2) students may participate; one (1) entry per team. Up to two (2) teams per chapter may participate.

One student will act as the pilot and the other will act as the spotter.

In a Team of one (1) participant, the individual may serve as both Pilot and Spotter.

Up to two (2) teams per chapter

Minimum equipment needed to start:

  • A programmable drone
  • A smartphone/tablet

All the suggested drones use apps for the smartphone/tablet to fly manually and to code for autonomous flight.

Additional equipment suggested include:

  • Extra batteries
  • External battery charging hub
  • Gamepad controller for manual flight
  • Computer for more advanced coding capabilities
  • Research the given theme and document the use of drones
  • Create a digital research poster (MS) or a digital research portfolio (HS)
  • Code a drone to fly pre-programmed flight paths to score the most points in an Autonomous Flight
    Challenge.
  • Fly the Autonomous Flight Challenge at school or home. Record and submit your solution as a video.

For the Research Project portion of the competitions, Middle School participants have to create a Research Poster using the given theme, while High School participants have to prepare a Research Portfolio for the given theme.

For the Autonomous Flight Challenge, the 6 in. and 1 ft. Target Zone positions are the same for MS and HS. However, the locations of Helipad and the 2 ft. Target are swapped.

No. It’s not a race, but a skills competition. Teams are given a limited time to accomplish the given missions and score the most points. 

No. At this time, Droneworks competitions do not allow FPV goggles to be worn.

Drones

The drone must be programmable and capable of autonomous flight.

The drone (with all components attached) must not exceed the following dimensions:

  • 8 in (20 cm) width
  • 8 in (20 cm) length
  • 5 in (13 cm) height (as measured from the surface the drone is resting upon to the highest point of the drone, with all its components attached)

The drone weight (with all components attached) must not exceed 3.5 oz (100 g)

For suggested drones, please download the Drone Buying Guide.

The following drones meet the drone requirements and are suggested for the Droneworks competitions. The marketplace for drones is constantly changing, so other permissible drones may be available.

Minimum equipment needed to start:

  • A programmable drone
  • A smartphone/tablet

All the suggested drones use apps for the smartphone/tablet to fly manually and to code for autonomous flight.

Additional equipment suggested include:

  • Extra batteries
  • External battery charging hub
  • Gamepad controller for manual flight
  • Computer for more advanced coding capabilities

Coding the drone for autonomous flight is done using a computer, tablet, or phone.

Programming methods vary by drone, please see the manufacturer web sites for more information.

Programming options range from blocks-based coding for beginners, including MIT Scratch and Blockly for PC/Mac to apps such as Tynker, Tello EDU, and DroneBlocks for Android/iOS tablets and phones.

Advanced programming options include Swift Playgrounds, Python, and JavaScript.

You can choose how to code your drone based on your skill level.

Beginner teams can use blocks-style programming app on a smartphone/tablet or Scratch or Blockly on a computer.

Advanced teams can use text-based programming such as Python or JavaScript to code their drone.

Autonomous means the drone operates and reacts only to sensor/camera inputs and to commands pre-programmed by the team onto the smartphone, tablet, or computer. The code is run and the drone flies automatically without human control.

Research Project

“From practicing in the backyard to the Olympics, people in Oklahoma love sports. Identify up to three (1-3) ways a drone may be used to enhance the sports experience.”

Given the 2021 research theme, Middle School teams create a Digital Research Poster illustrating and explaining up to three (3) ways drones may be used related to the theme.

A. Digital Poster must be submitted as a 2-page PDF.
B. Poster may be no larger than 22 in. x 28 in.
C. Color or gray scale is acceptable.
D. Any medium may be used. (e.g. digital, photographs, pencil, paint, marker)
E. Physical poster may be created, photographed, and submitted as a PDF file.
F. Photographs or digital media must be properly credited in Research Bibliography.

First page must contain:
1. Theme
2. Research description in 300 words or less
3. Research description may be handwritten or typed
4. Hand drawn or digital illustrations/photos (2-3)

Second page must contain:
1. Team/chapter ID number
2. Research Bibliography citing sources of research information and illustrations/photos

Yes. A physical poster may be created, photographed, and submitted as a PDF file.

Given the 2021 research theme, High School teams create a Research Portfolio explaining up to three (3) ways drones may be used related to the theme.

A. Documentation materials (comprising a “digital portfolio”) are required and will be submitted as a PDF.

B. The portfolio must include the following single-sided, 8½” x 11″ pages, in this order:
    1. Title page with the event title, conference city and state, the year, and the team/chapter ID number; one (1) page
    2. Table of contents; one (1) page
    3. Theme Research Description(s); two (2) pages
    4. Research Bibliography; one (1) page
    5. Autonomous Program(s) – printouts of autonomous program coding; pages as needed

The easiest option is to take a screenshot of the code within your app. Then you can paste the image file into a document and save it as a PDF.

Autonomous Flight

Autonomous means the drone operates and reacts only to sensor/camera inputs and to commands pre-programmed by the team onto the smartphone, tablet, or computer. The code is run and the drone flies automatically without human control.

Coding the drone for autonomous flight is done using a computer, tablet, or phone.

Programming methods vary by drone, please see the manufacturer web sites for more information.

Programming options range from blocks-based coding for beginners, including MIT Scratch and Blockly for PC/Mac to apps such as Tynker, Tello EDU, and DroneBlocks for Android/iOS tablets and phones.

Advanced programming options include Swift Playgrounds, Python, and JavaScript.

Teams code their drone to land autonomously on designated Target Zones within the Airspace and score as many points as possible within one (1:00) minute.

At school or home, teams will need to mark off the Airspace and Target Zones. 

Upload a single video showing your autonomous code (printout or on-screen), your drone flying your autonomous flight challenge solution, and your scoring recap.

The “Airspace” is the drone’s competition environment. It is an area 10 ft. long x 10 ft. wide. The Helipad and Target Zones are all part of the Airspace.

The drone starts from the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” This is called the Helipad.

The drone may be started in any orientation as long as the drone remains completely within the perimeter of the Helipad.

The “Helipad” is the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” It is where the drone is to be placed before takeoff.

No. Navigating the target zones can be done collectively with a single autonomous program or individually with multiple programs, or any combination in-between. If using multiple programs, the drone must always be reset and takeoff from the Helipad.

Yes. Navigating the target zones can be done collectively with a single autonomous program or individually with multiple programs, or any combination in-between. If using multiple programs, the drone must always be reset and takeoff from the Helipad.

Yes. If there is time left, the Spotter may retrieve the drone and return it to the helipad to run the program again.

Your score will be based on whichever attempt earned the higher point value.

A spotter is allowed to hand-rescue or handle the drone during the Autonomous Flight as long as the propellers are not spinning. The spotter may return the drone to the helipad to re-run the same program or continue competition with another program.

There is no penalty for handling the drone.

No. Teams may switch programs during autonomous flight, but cannot change the code within a program

Manual Flight

Manual flight means the pilot operates the drone using human control. This can be done using a gamepad controller (remote controller) or touchscreen joysticks on a smartphone/tablet. 

No. Due to COVID-19 and no in-person state conference, there will be no manual flight. Teams will submit a digital research project and a video showing their Autonomous Flight Challenge solution.

The “Airspace” is the drone’s competition environment. It is an area 10 ft. long x 10 ft. wide.

The drone starts from the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” This is called the Helipad.

The drone may be started in any orientation as long as the drone remains completely within the perimeter of the Helipad.

The “Helipad” is the 2 ft. x 2 ft. square marked with the letter “H.” It is where the drone is to be placed before takeoff.