Following the successful launch of the ICUAS UAV Competition at ICUAS 2022 in Dubrovnik, the competition is back for the second edition at ICUAS 2023!

The competition details and official rules are now available in the competition rulebook.

The UAV Competition is jointly organized by the Laboratory for Robotics and Intelligent Control Systems (LARICS) from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing through EU Horizon CSA Aerostream and the Center for Advanced Aerospace Technologies (CATEC) from Seville through EU H2020 METRICS project, with support from ICUAS.

By bringing in the CATEC and Metrics support, the Competition builds on the tradition of European Robotics League and offers unique opportunities for students to test and compare their skills with those of their peers, worldwide. The competition is open to any full-time BSc, MSc, and PhD students and others of similar proficiency. There is no fee to participate.

The competition will take place in two stages. The first stage (“qualifiers”), involving simulation in ROS-Gazebo environment, will take place remotely. The second stage (“finals”), involving live trials, will take place at the conference venue, allowing the finalists to meet and participate in the conference.

Competition timeline

January 16, 2023: Simulation stage kick-off; rulebook published

March 1, 2023: Team registration closed

April 15, 2023: Simulation stage upload deadline

April 26: Finalists announced

June 6-9, 2023: Finals (live trials at the conference venue)
-the exact date will be announced in the conference program-

The challenge

The task of the UAV is to navigate an unknown 3D environment to inspect infrastructure and find defects. The ICUAS’23 UAV Competition focuses on three aspects:

  1. EXPLORATION of bounded but unknown 3D space,
  2. DETECTION of defects and reconstruction of their position, and
  3. POSE ESTIMATION that enables precise localization of defects.

The platform

The platform for the competition is a standard quadrotor frame equipped with a ROS capable Intel NUC computer, Pixhawk flight controller connected to the NUC via the MAVLINK interface, IMU, and Intel Realsense depth camera.

Simulation stage

Using the software stack for the UAV, provided through Docker container, teams will deploy a UAV in a simulated environment. The UAV, equipped with IMU and forward facing depth camera, needs to navigate this unknown (but bounded) area and scan the surroundings for defects. 

Figure 1. UAV in Gazebo during the simulation phase of ICUAS’22 UAV Competition

Scattered throughout the simulated environment, there will be several textured tiles depicting structural damage that the teams need to detect. Teams will be provided with the dataset of labeled defect images to train their detectors. The number of defects will be known in advance. 

Figure 2. Examples of infrastructure defects that need to be detected

Teams will also need to develop their pose estimation solution using available sensors (IMU, Realsense depth camera). Benchmarks for all three aspects (exploration, detection, and pose estimation) will be announced in the rulebook which will be released at the time of the competition kick-off in January 2023. 

Finals at the conference venue

Teams that qualify for the finals will be able to test their solution in a real testbed, using the same software stack that will be deployed on a standardized UAV platform (each team will use the UAV provided by the organizers). 

The competition will be run similarly to the competition that took place at ICUAS 2022 in Dubrovnik. For more details, check and

More details about the ICUAS 2023 will be published in January.

Figure 3. ICUAS’22 UAV Competition arena in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Figure 4. Metrics project arena in CATEC, Seville. Similar setup can be expected for ICUAS’23 UAV Competition.

Regulatory framework

While the finals of the competition will be held in an indoor arena, and such flights are not subject to the current European nor Polish regulations and procedures required from the Civil Aviation Authority of Poland nor the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, in order to promote safe UAS operations, teams will have the opportunity and obligation to familiarize themselves with the regulatory framework through a brief overview.