Up Great technology contests

Up Great technology contests are open engineering contests in a format that is new to Russia, in which teams are invited to find breakthrough solutions to the most complex technological problems on a global scale. The winner of the contests receives a large cash prize for demonstrating to the expert jury and the general public a clear and repeatable solution to the competition task.

The contests were initiated by RVC, the Skolkovo Foundation and ASI as part of the implementation of the National Technology Initiative. Their goal is to overcome significant technological barriers that impede the emergence of new products in promising NTI markets. The mechanics of the contests were developed in accordance with best practices in global technology contests: XPrize and the Darpa Grand Challenge.

In July 2018, the first three Up Great technology contests in the field of driverless vehicles and hydrogen power officially started with a prize fund of RUB 375 million. More than 40 applications from engineering teams from across Russia were submitted to take part in the Winter City, First Element: Earth and First Element: Air competitions. The final contests trials will be held in 2019. Partners for the Up Great contests include Yandex, Sberbank of Russia, KIAT and NAMI.

Key indicators
  • active series of Up Great contests in the field of autonomous transport and hydrogen energy
  • Up to  RUB  200 mln
    in prizes for each contests
  • Over 40 
    applications from engineering teams from all over Russia
Technology contests are another tool for engaging talented individuals in the National Technology Initiative. The winners will be able to form teams united by the highly complex tasks of overcoming technological barriers that will result in the promotion of their solutions in the global market. Contests will make it possible to attract much more investment in development than the amount spent on prizes.
Dmitry Peskov, special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on digital and technological development

The requirements for the procedure of organizing and conducting NTI technological contests and the rules for granting subsidies from the federal budget for the needs of the project are stipulated in Decree No. 403 of the Government of the Russian Federation of 3 April 2018. The functions of the operator of NTI technological contests are performed by RVC.

Winter City

The Winter City contests is aimed at creating an autonomous vehicle capable of driving in extreme climatic conditions in cities, without visible road markings, with poor visibility on the roadway and in the presence of other traffic. That said, speed and safety should be similar to that of the average driver.

Under the terms of the competition, within the framework of the final trials, the vehicle must travel autonomously to checkpoints on a track 50 km in length in less than three hours, independently plotting the route while taking into account the presence of other vehicles on the track, observing traffic rules and not causing other participants to commit violations. Yandex is the technology partner for the competition. The prize fund for the competition amounts to  RUB 175 million.

In total, more than 30 applications were submitted from engineering teams, commercial companies and universities from all over Russia, and 13 teams participated in qualifying trials at the NAMI track in the Moscow Oblast. Based on the results of the qualifying trials, five teams advanced to the competition finals:

  • Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University
  • BaseTracK (Moscow)
  • Winter City MADI (Moscow Automobile and Road Construction State Technical University)
  • StarLine (St. Petersburg)
  • AUTO-RTK (a joint team from the Bortovye intellektualnye sistemy Scientific Design Office for Computer Systems and Companies from Taganrog, Southern Federal University and Southwest State University)

The final trials of the Winter City competition will be held in December 2019.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the mass commercialization of driverless vehicles will begin after 2025. By that time, sales of cars equipped with autonomous driving systems will exceed 40% of the global market for new cars. The market for driverless vehicles will increase from the current USD 1.3 billion to  USD 84 billion, and sales of autonomous cars in absolute terms will reach 36 million units.

«Winter City»

First Element: Air and First Element: Earth

The purpose of these contests is to overcome global technological barriers in the promising segment of hydrogen fuel cells. It is assumed that this barrier can be overcome both in the air and on the ground. Contestants will create power-generating systems for hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles that are comparable in efficiency to traditional energy sources. The competition objectives were developed with the support of the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

The participants in the First Element: Air competition are to develop environmentally friendly and energy-intensive hydrogen fuel cells that will significantly increase the time of operation of UAVs in the air. Drones can now fly continuously for half an hour on average. The objective of the competition is to create a battery with a capacity of 1.3 kW and a specific mass energy capacity of at least 700 Wh/kg, while its mass should not exceed 7 kg. Developers need to mount their power-generating system on a special multi-rotor platform, after which it must remain in the air for at least three hours in cyclic flight mode. The competition prize will amount to  RUB 60 million.

The First Element: Earth competition is aimed at creating hydrogen fuel cells for medium-sized land vehicles and water-borne vessels: manned and unmanned motorcycles, automobiles and light boats. The capacity of the power-generating system should be at least 15 kW with a specific energy density of 500 Wh/L, and the volume should not exceed 150 litres. Competition participants will have to mount their power-generating system on the unmanned vehicle platform provided by the organizers and then take part in a race and stay on the track for at least three hours. The competition prize will amount to  RUB 140 million.

Twelve teams submitted applications to participate in the First Element series of Up Great competitions. There are seven teams in the running to win the First Element: Air competition. Five more applications were submitted for the First Element: Earth competition. The finals of the First Element contests will be held in July 2019.

Overcoming this barrier will enable the technology to enter new markets. This is primarily about robots and quadcopters. Robotics is developing rapidly, and the energy intensity of the power sources for this industry is extremely important. As for quadcopters, the greater their energy intensity and the less their mass, the longer they will be able to fly. Quadcopters can be used to perform complex assignments, e.g., to solve the ‘last mile’ problem in logistics or to conduct cartographic surveys.
Yuri Dobrovolsky, leader of the Up Great First Element competition, head of the NTI Center of Excellence for Technologies for New and Mobile Energy Sources at the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Science

According to forecasts by Frost & Sullivan, global automakers will bring to market more than 20 new models with hydrogen engines by 2020. By 2030, the total sales of vehicles using hydrogen fuel will reach 583  thousand units per year.