This article was published on 10 June 2015
After eight weeks the Callaghan Innovation UAV C-Prize is off to a flying start with over 30 innovative entries received so far.
New Zealand’s leading film makers have set the challenge and kiwi innovators are answering the call with next-generation UAV technology for the screen industry.
Initial entries include a UFO, a bionic propeller, a flying stingray and a range of other concepts to reduce noise, increase stability and track the speed of moving objects. Advanced technologies like neural networks, thrust vectoring, and sensor fusion are among the smart ideas put forward.
Having worked on The Hobbit, King Kong and Avatar, C-Prize judge and cinematographer Richard Bluck has been blown away by the quality and degree of innovation in the first group of entries. “The technology and products that results from this competition are really going to advance the use of UAVs and allow us to capture amazing footage in the future.”
C-Prize entrant Karl Butler says the competition provides an awesome opportunity to market and grow his new robotics company. “We started Butler Robotics specifically for this challenge and see it as a great way to develop the business into another Kiwi success story”.
The competition is also generating a lot of interest offshore with coverage by Gizmodo, Engadget, and France’s largest daily newspaper, Le Monde.
Callaghan Innovation Aviation Sector Manager and C-Prize organiser Chris Thomson says the amazing response and interest in the competition demonstrates why New Zealand is a real “country-of-excellence” for UAV technology and product development.
With four weeks until entries close (July 5) the film industry can’t wait to see what flies in!
About the C-Prize
With the support of top international filmmakers including James Cameron and Jon Landau, the C-Prize is an open innovation challenge run by Callaghan Innovation that aims to boost New Zealand’s position as world-leader in the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology and help keep the country's innovative screen industry at the cutting-edge.
NZ-based students, innovators, and entrepreneurs are invited to solve technical challenges including improving the ability of UAVs to record and reproduce high-definition sound, operate in rough weather, and track objects for augmented reality and visual effects purposes.
Entrants’ initial concepts – due in by 5 July - will be judged by a panel of film industry, technology, and commercialisation experts with those making it through the first round each receiving $10,000 and support from Callaghan Innovation, Massey University and Creative HQ to develop prototypes. As a bonus prize, an Aeronavics BOT (including a GoPro camera, gimbal, wireless video down link, mission controller and transport case) will be presented to the student entry displaying the highest degree of innovation, as determined by the lead judging panel, but which is not selected as a finalist.
The grand prize winner – to be announced in December - will receive $50,000 as well as an expenses-paid trip to exhibit at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas, the largest international trade show for media content and technology.
The competition, co-sponsored by Kiwi UAV and technology companies Animation Research Ltd, Aeronavics, Shotover Camera Systems, and Park Road Post, and with the support of the NZ Film Commission, Massey University, OpenLab and Creative HQ, is open to individuals based in New Zealand or teams with two or more members residing in New Zealand.
For more information on the competition, including detailed rules, timelines and technical specifications, visit: www.cprize.nz