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02 23 2021

NATO Agency launches data fusion challenge for unmanned systems tracking

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is challenging scientists to use data to track unmanned aircraft systems entering a protected flight zone.

Participants in the challenge can fuse together several sources of data provided by the Agency to track the drones. The challenge focuses on Class I Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which includes systems with a mass lower than 150 kg. Hobby drones are a typical example of Class I UAS.

NATO Agency launches data fusion challenge for unmanned systems tracking

"For more than 50 years, NATO has demonstrated strong air superiority in all areas of its operations. To maintain its edge, NATO must be prepared to counter threats posed by unmanned systems," said Cristian Coman, a Senior Scientist at the NCI Agency.

Using the data provided by the Agency, participants should track the drones to show their location and velocity, and classify them to indicate what type of UAS has been detected.

This challenge is part of a larger research and development effort at the NCI Agency aiming at developing effective remote sensing technologies suitable for detecting, tracking and identifying Class I UASs. The data released for this challenge was recorded in 2020 during a measurement campaign at the Dutch Ministry of Defence's Counter-UAS Nucleus, in the Netherlands.

NATO sponsored the measurement campaign through its Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work, and the event was further supported by several government and industry partners.

Challenge participants will be invited to present their solution at a special session of the International Conference on Military Communications and Information Systems (ICMCIS) on 4-5 May 2021. In addition to the special session on 'data science solutions to counter UAS,' the conference includes a keynote on the challenges of UAS by Liisa Janssens, co-author of A Comprehensive Approach to Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The NCI Agency is organizing this year's conference as a fully virtual event.

The deadline to submit your solution is 18 April 2021.

Click here to participate in the challenge!