January 2019 - An International Challenge, that's close to home.

“The 2018 wildfire season is the most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 7,983 fires burning an area of 1,824,505 acres (738,351 ha), the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), as of November 30.[1][2][3] The fires have caused more than $2.975 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $1.366 billion in fire suppression costs.[4][5][6][7] Through the end of August 2018, Cal Fire alone spent $432 million on operations.[17]” 

Fire maps are a critical component to combating the risks of wildfire season. Improved mission planning and new algorithm-based technology has the potential to minimize damage and save lives. These technologies may also have military defense applications.

It is the first of its kind, The Air Force Research Laboratory, in collaboration with the UK DSTL, are proud to announce Swarm and Search AI Challenge: 2019 Fire Hack. The challenge, which begins in January of 2019, will explore new, and more efficient ways to plan complex UAS search and rescue missions.

Teams will compete against each other in the US or the UK, with a final showdown on March 29th – 31st 2019.

  • Team registration begins January 2019.
  • Online competition concludes on March 14, 2019.
  • Top 10 teams invited to participate in showdown. (team lead must be US citizen)
  • Showdown March 29-31, 2019.

Click here to learn more about terms and conditions

  • $5K cash prize to teams invited to showdown + Up to $5K available for travel.
  • Showdown winners cash prize for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
  • Winners showcased at 2019 AUVSI Conference and UK Embassy Showcase in Washington D.C.
  • Learn about upcoming funding opportunities.
  • Exposure to new markets and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Teams.

Download the 2019 Swarm and Search AI Challenge quick start guide here. .

Registration is now closed. Sign up below to receive updates about the competition or follow us on twitter @wbiinnovates

Wright Brothers Institute


Complete this form to receive updates and follow the competition.
Email *
First Name 
Last Name 
*Required Fields
Note: It is our responsibility to protect your privacy and we guarantee that your data will be completely confidential.

“2018 Wildfire Season.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_wildfire_season.

“California.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Dec. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California.
“California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Department_of_Forestry_and_Fire_Protection.
“National Interagency Fire Center.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Interagency_Fire_Center.