Genius Drone is a student-centric competition which provides students understanding the role of engineering and research in environmental issues. Genius Drone encourages students to discover novel solutions to known problems in the environment by requiring them to design, build, test and control their unique drones. It provides students with a lifetime experience and an opportunity to enhance their life skills such as being a team member, researching and problem-solving.

As Genius Olympiad community, we value the diversity of the participants and the respect to each other. We come together and speak up together to increase the awareness of environmental issues and the importance of acting together to build a better world together.

Each GENIUS Drone project can be prepared and presented by a team of up to two students. Schools may apply with multiple teams. However, each student may be part of only one team. Each team may bring only two identical drones to compete. However, teams from the same school can not share the drones. If you bring two drones, both drones must be brought for inspection. Only team members who participate will be recognized during award ceremony and announcements. 

DRONE | Game - Genie Recycler

Genie Recycler is designed to measure the performance of the drones and the teams in recycling tasks. 

Drone Type: Teams can purchase and customize any mini-drone kits or build their own design from scratch. Any material can be used for drone frame and attachments. We do not allow the use of drones with GPS navigation/stabilization since all games will be run in indoor settings.

Mission: Drones pick up trash items with a hook from ocean, lake and land regions and pass through obstacles or gates to bring them back to collection area which includes collection bin and collection hanger.  

There will be at least three games for each team. Each game will be 5 minutes. Games will be scheduled based on the project ID number. There will be one game for each team per round (One round means every team plays one game in order.)

Mission Task

Genie Recycler Drone is responsible to pick up trash (picking up trash figures as defined below) from the ocean (defined below) or lake (defined below) or land (field floor) and transport the collected trash (one at a time or together) into the collection area (CA). The trash should be dropped into Collection Area (CA) or Collection Bin (CB) or hanged to Collection Hanger (CH), which all are located at the same area of the field (The trash might be dropped in any of the three possibilities). The field includes gates and trees as obstacles. The drones will be penalized if they get in contact with the gates or trees. Drones should also pass under the gates as they travel through the field to gain more points. Drones will also be penalized if they drop any picked up lake/ocean trash into the field and let it stay on the field by the end of the game. If they pick up that dropped trash, there will be no penalty. 

Genie recycler drone can be operated only in the netted field for the safety of all participants. The drone will start from the drone lot and teams are allowed to make modifications on the drone such as adding or removing attachments during the competition game ONLY when the drone is deactivated and is within the drone lot. Any other interference is not allowed during the games.

There will be 5 trash to be collected in the lake and 5 trash to be collected in the ocean and 5 trash to be collected on land (field floor) randomly distributed. There is no specific order of tasks to be completed.

Placement of trash: Trash items will be randomly distributed in the lake (pool with 5-inch water), ocean (pool with 10-inch water) or land (field floor).

The time for each game is 5 minutes.


Each land trash pickup (green trash) earns 5 points 
Each ocean trash pickup (blue trash) earns 10 points
Each lake trash pickup (yellow trash) earns 20 points
Each collection area drop off earns 20 points
Each collection hanger drop off earns 20 points
Each collection bin drop off earns 30 points
Each time passing through gates earns 10 points
If Drone contacts with any trees (8 ft green bars) or gates, it loses 5 points for each time
If Drone drops any ocean or lake trash item into the field, it loses 5 points for each item
If the team needs to interfere with the drone (If the drone is entangled and already deactivated) outside of robot lot, the team loses 25 points. 
If all tasks are completed (all trash items collected into the collection area/bin/hanger) 1 point will be earned for every 1 second of the time after the drone lands into the drone lot.
If the team loses the control of the drone, the referee may stop the game and ask the team to deactivate it. The team may not continue this game for such cases. The team still can compete for the game in next round.

Drone Inspection and Build Up Rules:

All finalist drones will be inspected on the setup/practice day and any drone which does not apply the below rules would be disqualified and ineligible to compete in Genius Drone. 

Size: Motor to motor (diagonal) frame size must be less than 300 mm. Propeller, motor, battery type and sizes may vary based on your design. Any drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs (250 gr) must be registered through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under section 336 and FAA registration number must be marked on drones. To register your drone, click here.

Flying Drone: Both First/Remote person view (FPV/RPV) and Land of Site (LOS) flying are allowed. Drones can operate in either self-level (angle/horizon) or acro (rate/manual) modes. Teams may change the operation mode or flying option between games. 

Project I.D.: Your Project ID must be marked on your drone. 

We encourage using blade guards to protect drones and the field. 

Safety Rules:

  • Drones cannot be activated/flown outside of the netted area on campus. Any violations may result in disqualification from the competition.
  • Campus police may intervene and confiscate your drone. 
  • All practices must be done in the netted competition field.
  • Drones must be activated only inside the netted area in drone lot and when there is no one inside the field.
  • Only one team can use the netted area for practice at a time. On practice day, each team may use the field for up to 5 minutes if there is another team in line. 
  • Safety goggles must be worn all the time near competition field. 
  • The referee may stop the game and ask the team to deactivate their drone in case of reckless flying (Repeatedly flying into the nets or flying in an uncontrollable manner). The team may not continue this game for such cases. The team still can compete for the game in next round.

Game Materials: 

During the competition, all competition materials and the field will be provided by Genius Drone. Only the listed items below will be used for the competition and field will be built according to the designed map, as given below. It is recommended but not mandatory to purchase the listed items. Any replacement to the listed materials would be accepted for teams to be able to get prepared for the competition. Genius Drone does not provide or sell any materials to the teams, teams can purchase their own materials from the links or even make their own materials.

  • Competition Field Net: 55 ft long, 12 ft high,14ft wide netted all around and top field. You do NOT need this in order to practice at home/school for this game, however, make sure stay within 14 feet wide and 10 feet or less high area.  Purchase (55 ft external cage).
  • Competition Field Design Map: Please click on links to download the maps of the field with measurements and setup These will be your guide to set up your field. 
  • Trash Items: Will be built using foam pool noodles  (2.5" diameter) cut in 3" length. Zip ties (18 inch length) will be used to create the hooks on the trash these foam items.We will use different color noodles for trash items used for lake vs ocean vs land trash. Purchase and Purchase.
  • Trees (Obstacles): Will be built using green foam noodles elevated with pipes to reach 8ft hight from the ground Purchase
  • Gates: Will be built using foam noodles in arch shape elevated with pipes to reach approximately 40-45" high and 4 ft wide Purchase
  • Collection Bin (CB): 35" tall with 14" diameter bin will be used. Purchase
  • Collection Hanger (CH): Built with 1" PVC pipes with 4 ft height and 2 ft arm length
  • Ocean and Lake: 45" hard plastic pool will be used for both ocean and lake. They will be filled with water for 5" height. Purchase

GENIUS DRONE Judging Criteria

1. Teamwork - 5 %: Judges will score the involvement of each team member during the judging session. To get a good score, teams may divide their presentation and different team members may be responsible for each part.

2. Presentation  - 15 %: Teams will present their project and explain the details about their drone (operation mode, coding decisions, selected materials ..etc) by using any design material, poster or coding examples. Each team will be given 6 minutes at most to tell about their design and engineering work. Judges may ask questions during or after the presentation. There is no specification for the optional project poster. 

 3. Game score - 80% : (details are given above under game scoring)

According to judging criteria, participants will receive 10% gold, 20% silver, 20% bronze, and 20% honorable mention awards. 



  • Application: A drone project can be prepared and submitted by up to two students.
  • Application: Schools may submit multiple teams/projects, however, each student may be in only one team. Each must submit an application, but same schools should use the same account for multiple applications. 
  • Application: Each team must have their own drone and drones cannot be shared among teams, even they are from the same school. 
  • Application: A YouTube video which is less than 3 min with a title: GENIUS Drone_YEAR_TITLE should be uploaded. The Youtube link should be provided when an optional media link is asked for in the project application site. The video should show the team's ability to operate their drone in an indoor setting and achieving the defined tasks.
  • Application: Your file names must be in English characters if you upload any design documents.
  • Application: The project description paper should include: title, student names, city, and country, drone information (kit used, the cost, engineering drawings, description of the design, drawings, photos of the drone (throughout the design phase and a final photo). The paper will be uploaded into the online application. Acceptable file formats for the project paper are doc and docx and PDF, not exceeding 5 MB in file size. Recommended page limit is 15, with acceptable font sizes 11 or 12 for any font type and page margins one inch or more (2.5 cm) from each side.

  • At the fair: Everyone including team members, guests, supervisors, and organizers are required to wear safety glasses in the competition area. Prescription glasses or sunglasses are NOT considered as safety glasses. Open-toe or open-back shoes are NOT allowed in the practice and competition area. You are allowed to bring your own poster board/presentation, which should be placed on a 40x60 inches table. There is no height restriction for self-prepared boards. Shipping information is available in the Finalist Guide.
  • At the fair: Students may choose to present their drone and design using a poster. If you choose so, students should come to the competition with pre-printed materials to prepare their posters. 
  • At the fair: Students are allowed to make changes and improve their drone between application and fair presentation.
  • At the fair: We provide only 110 V outlet. We do NOT provide 220 V. 
  • At the fair: A table will be provided for each team for their set-up. 
  • At the fair: There will be only one field which can only be used for practice on the practice day. Teams can use the field for up to 5 minutes if there is any other team waiting in the line.
  • At the fair: Read Finalist guide under rules for more information.
  • At the fair: Supervisors are NOT allowed to stay in the competition area with their teams. The students should be able to handle all the issues by themselves. 
  • At the fair: Teams must stay near their assigned desk not to miss any competition round. Teams missed their round will not be given second chance to make up. 

 GENIUS DRONE | Questions and Answers

If you send us a specific question, their answers will be shared on this page for others as well:

1. Can we use any drone kit or create our own drone?

The answer is yes on the condition you follow the build-up rules.

2. Can we bring multiple drones?

Yes but the drones must be identical for each team. They cannot be switched during the flight (game). 

3. What is the maximum size of the drone frame?

The drones must be smaller than 300 mm for the motor to motor(diagonal) length.

4. Is there a restriction on controlling the drone?

There is no restriction on controlling robot but you can not use GPS relying on control mechanisms since it is an indoor activity. 

5. What if my drone is not ready before the application deadline, can I still apply?

Yes, you can apply. Your final version of the drone does NOT have to be ready during application. However, you must have a drone in hand to provide a video showing your capabilities and drawings and plan for your drone which will be used in GENIUS Olympiad drone game and any photos during initial design and built-up. 

6. Is there any limit for motor or battery power?

There is no limit for them.

7. Is there any weight limit for the drone?

No there is not any weight limit for the drone. However, based on FAA regulations, you should register your drone on FAA website and mark the registration ID number on your drone if it weights more than 0.55 lbs. 

8. When the mission is considered completed for a team to go back to drone lot and earn bonus points?

If there is no trashes left in lake, ocean or land and they are all transported to the collection area/bin/hanger, the mission is considered completed. In that case, the drone should go back to drone lot and any remaining seconds after touch down to drone lot will be given as points. 

9. Is there any limit for operational mode or flying option?

No, teams can fly their drones by FPV or LOS and the drones can be operated in self or acro modes.

10. When the round ends, if drones have any trash items on them, is there any penalty for this?

It depends on the drone's last location. If the drone is landed in the collection area region, there are no penalty points and all trash items will be considered as transported successfully. However, if the drone is at an outside of the collection area and there are trash items on them, the items will be considered as left on the land, so there will be penalty points for each trash item.

11. Can we have more than one controller/operators acting simultaneously on the same drone?

You can have up to 2 controllers. 

12. Is there any restriction on the orientation of drone in drone lot to start the game?

Drone lot is the free area that you can do anything including changing the starting direction of the drone.

13. How much time is provided to calibrate and setup drone before each round?

There is no certain time but the competition rounds will be run in the order of project IDs for each team. You can think of 30 minutes between rounds. 

14. Can we collect many trash items and transport them to the collection area/bin/hanger together?

You can collect in groups or item by item. It is your decision. We will only look at their placement to the corresponding place for scoring.

15. How much time is allocated for each game?

5 minutes.