None of the 11 teams that flew in this year\u2019s Medical Express Challenge for unmanned aerial vehicles was able to complete the mission, leaving the potential $75,000 prize money unclaimed.\nThe challenge \u2013 which organisers describe as \u2018one of the most challenging aerial robotics competitions ever devised\u2019 \u2013 is the gala event of the biennial UAV Challenge, which took place last week in Dalby, on the Darling Downs in Queensland.\n \nThe team from Monash University \u2013 Monash UAS \u2013 was ranked highest in the competition, finishing less than a point ahead of Team Dhaksha, from the Madras Institute of Technology campus at Anna University in India.\n \nThe ranking was described as \u201cthe tightest UAV Challenge result we have had for the adult competition since the first contest in 2007\u201d.\nThe challenge requires teams to retrieve a blood sample from a sick farmer \u2013 portrayed by a mannequin named Outback Joe \u2013 and take it to a lab. \nWhile teams are given the address of the farmer, their drones must land within 40 metres of a target he has printed, but not before passing through a number of waypoints, remaining within a geofenced area, and while avoiding any \u2018static no-fly zones\u2019.\n \nAfter Outback Joe has placed his blood sample in a compartment on the drone, he then activates a switch. A minute later, the drones must make their way back to base.\n \nTo make things harder the whole mission \u2013 a 44.5 kilometre round trip \u2013 must be completed by the drone autonomously.\n \nIn a new twist this year, teams could also opt to complete the mission while avoiding \u2018dynamic no-fly zones\u2019 designed to represent other airspace users.\n \nNo caption\nMonash UAS, successfully landed within 10 metres of Joe\u2019s target, but a technical issue meant they had to command their aircraft to take-off from the farm \u201cand hence the take-off could not be deemed autonomous\u201d.\nTeam Dhaksha meanwhile failed to land within 10m of the target, instead touching down 30 metres away \u201cin the next paddock and on the other side of a fence\u201d.\n \n\u201cBoth teams were superb,\u201d organisers said, \u201cboth teams did achieve amazing mission flights and are congratulated on these fantastic achievements\u201d.\n \nRanked third was Canberra UAV, a small band of Canberra-based hobbyists; Thai team Griffin UAV placed fourth and in fifth place was Polish team High Flyers.\n \nAn airmanship award went to Griffin UAV for their attitude and decision making abilities, while Canberra UAV was given an incentive award for performing best in the \u2018dynamic no-fly zones\u2019 challenge.\n \n\u201cNot only did their aircraft travel nearly the entire length of the course avoiding virtual dynamic obstacles, but Canberra UAV also shared all of their computer code with other teams. Their attitude to sharing everything and progressing the field of low-cost UAVs for civilian applications is commendable,\u201d organisers said.\n \nA number of the Canberra UAV team is behind the widely-used open-source autopilot software Ardupilot which keeps more than a million multi-copters, fixed-wing planes, and helicopters up in the air.\n \nThe Medical Express Challenge has been running since 2015, inspired by the ordeal of a real life farmer, on whose property the competition is held.\n \nIt is one of a number of competitions that form the UAV Challenge. Among them is the Airborne Delivery Challenge in which high school teams must drop a \u2018medical package\u2019 close to a target, with a suitably soft landing.\n \nThe winner this year was the Sky High team from Knight High School in Palmdale California.The school is named after famed test pilot William J Knight, who still holds the world speed record for flight in a winged, powered aircraft.\n \nThe UAV Challenge is organised by the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision at Queensland University of Technology and CSIRO\u2019s Data61. Sponsors include the Queensland Government, Boeing, Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Defence Science and Technology Group.