CNY Drones 2017-2018 STEM-Based Team Drone Challenge: Rig Rescue!

We are pleased that so many great volunteers and organizations have come together to help make our new and exciting STEM program a reality!


Our region’s low-cost, multi-element, annually themed, STEM-based Team Drone Challenge was created by a diverse volunteer group of engineers, educators & drone enthusiasts through CNY Drones in Utica, NY. This year’s Challenge, Rig Rescue, provides teams of differing ages & abilities (11+) the opportunity to solve real-world issues using problem solving skills, applied science and math, engineering, research & creativity. Teams of 2 to 5 members are drawn-in to conquer elements on a 30’x60′ indoor field in timed rounds. The first competition is  April 15, 2018 in Utica, NY.  Other host sites will follow based on interest.  Competitions host 10 to 16 teams. This program is stand-alone, but can be used as a feeder for further competition through the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

Challenge Overview  

CNY Drones Challenge missions were created keeping in mind the eight practices of science and engineering identified by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, a blueprint for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The eight practices of science and engineering that the Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn and describes in detail are listed below:

  • Asking questions (for science) & defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing & using models
  • Planning & carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing & interpreting data
  • Using mathematics & computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) & designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, & communicating information”


The Rig Rescue Story

A malfunction has led to a fire on an off-shore oil platform.  Your rescue team has been dispatched to navigate through stormy, shark infested waters to help secure the facility and retrieve platform workers.  Using the latest drone technology your team can attempt to assist in surveying the damage, activating fire suppression systems that have not previously been triggered, retrieve critical proprietary information stored on the platform’s computer drive, secure a free-swinging crane, and rescue workers.

Rig Rescue drone teams can attempt to:

  • Navigate an air corridor and obstacles
  • Assess the situation & take photos of key issues
  • Activate a fire suppression system
  • Land on the oil rig platform in 1 of 2 locations
  • Retrieve a hard drive within the rig structure
  • Secure a crane
  • Toss out flotation devices to those in the water
  • Rescue survivors in the water
  • Return to a moving rescue ship