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FAA Challenge - Smart Airport Student Competition

The FAA is sponsoring the FAA Challenge - Smart Airport Student Competition to recognize students with the ability to demonstrate innovative thinking focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of smart technology in and around the airport environment while enhancing the overall traveling experience.

The FAA is using this competition to:

  • stimulate and advance innovation in aviation research;
  • promote the development of a robust aviation workforce to support a growing and evolving aerospace system;
  • develop a pipeline to fill current and projected shortages via partnerships with academia and industry;
  • and drive a passion for aviation in today's youth of all ages and backgrounds.

The FAA intends to incentivize university level students at accredited United States-based colleges and universities to think creatively in developing solutions to transportation technology challenges while addressing the human factors aspects of the traveler's experience, and to share those innovations with the broader community.

The FAA is sponsoring the competition under authority of the FAA Acquisition Management System (AMS), 49 U.S.C. 106(l) and (m).

Timeline

Submissions: The FAA Challenge competition will begin and submissions will be accepted between September 16, 2019 and 11:59 PM ET January 13, 2020.

Expression of Interest:Teams are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest to compete in this FAA Challenge by 11:59 PM ET October 16, 2019.

Finalist Announcement: A panel of FAA judges will conduct an evaluation and select three finalist teams, which will be announced by March 2020.

Demonstration and Awards: Finalist teams will be invited to New Jersey to demonstrate their concepts in May of 2020. A $25,000 award will be given to the lead university of the winning team.

Challenge Goals

Using smart technology to improve the traveler's transportation experience from home, in the airport environment, and to his/her final destination, the concept strives to address the following goals:

  • Efficiency - Identify more resourceful options for getting the traveler and his/her belongings from home to the final destination. Considering multiple transportation modes, their interfaces and schedules, costs, support services, environmental, safety and security optimization; address various special needs and preferences. Develop tools and processes to be used to improve the overall travel experience.
  • The Airport - Consider the airport design to more creatively utilize space and improve the quality of time spent while in transit. Navigate the airport property and terminal more effectively using new technologies, virtual and augmented reality scenarios, and various means of communication. Take into account emerging ways to positively impact and enrich the airport environment and improve the traveler's productivity, amusement, and overall enjoyment while at the airport.
  • Effectiveness - Develop various options to reduce delays and costs throughout the travel experience and facilitate interactions to enhance travel logistics. Address variables such as those traveling with special needs, time of day, weather, congestion and unsafe road conditions. Consider enhanced methods to improve and accelerate various processes such as ticketing, security and customers' screenings to reduce wait time throughout the journey.
  • Technology and Tools - Apply technological innovations, procedures, techniques and strategies to provide solutions to streamline and enhance all aspects of traveling logistics. Consider the way the traveler navigates from home, to and through the airport, coordinates ground transportation, compares costs, makes reservations, parks, moves self, baggage and belongings, and travels to safely, securely and more expeditiously arrive at his/her final destination.

Please carefully review the challenge announcement and the official competition website for the most up-to-date competition details.

Prizes

Finalist teams will be invited to demonstrate their concepts at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center (FAA Technical Center) and at a technical symposium in Atlantic City, New Jersey in May of 2020. A stipend of up to $6,000 will be awarded to each of the three finalist teams to help offset the cost of traveling to New Jersey to demonstrate their concepts.

Student participants of each finalist team will receive certificates. Finalist teams will also be invited to an awards ceremony where a $25,000 prize will be presented to the lead university of the winning team.

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