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MAAXX Europe Micro Aero Autonomous Extremes

The challenge!

FPV drone racing is great, but we want to take things up a level. The University of West of England ( and High Tech Bristol and Bath ( are combining to host MAAXX at the UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre on January 28/29th 2017.

This is an indoor drone air race, simple as that. But there is a catch: the drone piloting can be done from a ground-station, but it must be fully automatic. This is not about human piloting skills; it is about building machines and systems that can operate without human intervention.

We want to make the barriers to entry as low as possible, so anybody can have a go. Drones and electronics are super-cheap, and the software is usually free. The course is simple enough that you can build a test circuit at home and develop your stuff. Here’s what can be done in a couple of days with a £200 off-the-shelf drone and some code based on something from Github (

Stay tuned for more details!

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The course

The course is a long oval; the straights are 25 metres long and 2 metres apart. The track is 2 metres wide. There are put-in and exit lanes to allow the drones to enter and exit the race at any time. There are banners and nets above an altitude of 1.5 meters at regular intervals along the course, to keep things safe, low and close.Course marking: red line, green line, wall-mounted triangles at ends.

The competition

  • Speed prize for the fastest 10 consecutive laps of the course.
  • If no-one makes 10 consecutive laps, the prize goes to the fastest 5 consecutive laps.
  • Endurance prize for greatest total number of laps achieved during the entire competition.
  • Kudos prize for the most impressive tech or trick, as voted by the other competitors (software-controlled overtake anyone?)

The rules

  1. Maximum vehicle take-off weight of 1 kg.
  2. Maximum vehicle size of 1 metre in any dimension.
  3. No combustion-engine powered vehicles are permitted. Sorry.
  4. No human intervention is permitted once the competitor is on the course. Control from any ground-station equipment via wireless link is permitted.
  5. Any wireless communications methods are permitted (e.g. Wifi, Bluetooth, XBee, 2.4GHz). However, we do expect all the competitors to co-operate with the judges to ensure EM compatibility between everybody.
  6. Unlimited attempts are permitted, at any time during the competition.
  7. Competitors may fly whenever a flying slot becomes available. A slot is defined as no less than 2 meters from the nearest competitor on entering the course.
  8. There is no limit on the vehicle configuration: fixed-wing, rotary, or hybrids are all permitted.
  9. Deliberate or excessive bumping and ramming is discouraged. What is deliberate or excessive? You will know it, the judges will know it, and then they will red-flag you.

**The basic rule is “please, don’t be an idiot”.**

PLEASE NOTE: the course and rules are still provisional. We welcome your input on changes and additions that will make the racing faster, longer, and just better.

You need a yellow stripe along the floor to get a visual lock? No problemo.

You need a Wi-fi hub at the centre of the course to triangulate? You’ve got it.

11th February 2017, 09:00   to   12th February 2017, 16:00
UWE Exhibition & Conference Centre
Bristol, BS34 8QZ
United Kingdom

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