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Flying Donkey Challenge

February 5, 2014
Sadly, the Flying Donkey Challenge was put on hold indefinitely. See details here.
Will we see flying donkeys racing around Mount Kenya with 20 kilo payloads in 2020? The dream of lifting Africa will come one step closer when the 2014 preliminary “Flying Donkey Challenge” takes place in Kenya in November, but entries, including grant applications, close on February 28. 
The Flying Donkey Challenge is a project of the La Fondation Bundi, a non-profit initiative of the Afrotech project at EPFL, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, and the NCCR, the Swiss National Center of Competence for Research in Robotics.


The foundation seeks to pioneer a new transportation system for the world by developing robots with rugged air frames capable of safe and cheap unmanned flight of heavy cargo over long distances. We call these robots flying donkeys.

La Fondation Bundi is committed to promoting an African designed and assembled flying donkey industry capable of improving the transport infrastructure in areas without good roads. The goal of the foundation is to have tens of thousands of flying donkeys operational within a generation.

There are various technical, legal, logistical and design issues facing challengers and the foundation has broken the Flying Donkey Challenge into subchallenges. Teams may win large cash prizes for the best solutions across the range of subchallenges. Some of the subchallenges are:

  • Precision take off and landing
  • GPS denied navigation
  • Sense and avoid
  • Cargo delivery
  • FD business plan competition
  • FD legal paper competition tba
  • FD logistics paper competition tba
Amazon better look to Africa because the first commercial drone deliveries look like coming from Flying Donkeys not UPS delivery drones.
Andra Keay
Core Team Member & Robotics Industry Futurist
Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.

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