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Gov. Whitmer announces 2025 Unmanned Triple Challenge, a new drone innovation competition

Companies across the nation are working on the next generation of drones for a wide variety of defense, civilian, and commercial uses. These drones deliver medicine to isolated communities, support military personnel on the front lines, and transport critical manufacturing components to cut down on production delays.

On Wednesday at the Michigan Defense Expo (MDEX), Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the Unmanned Triple Challenge, a state-sponsored competition to drive innovation in autonomous drone technology.

Entrants will be tasked with using unmanned, autonomous drones to seamlessly transport a package across Michigan traversing air, land and water. The Michigan National Guard, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) are partnering on the competition.


“The Unmanned Triple Challenge will unleash innovation in drone technology for a wide range of applications,” said Governor Whitmer. “I’m grateful to the Michigan National Guard, MDOT, and the MEDC for their collaboration to host this competition, which should attract teams from academia, military, government, and the private sector. We look forward to welcoming competitors next May, when they will race across land, over water, and in the air to win prizes and, most importantly, bragging rights. By leading in this space, we will bring more jobs and investment home so we can keep building the future of mobility right here in Michigan.”

The challenge will be held from May 19 to 22, 2025. The competition begins at Rogers City Quarry, goes through the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, and ends at Camp Grayling.

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