Thursday 23 June. The winner of the Christchurch Aerospace Challenge was announced at an awards ceremony yesterday, which showcased the rising talent working on aerospace innovations across New Zealand with a focus on aerial imagery technology.

UAS & Woods was selected as the winner from an impressive pool of local innovators, and was awarded a $30,000 contract with the Christchurch City Council to trial and validate their solution, which will deliver radical improvements to the way the organisation captures aerial imagery.

UAS & Woods developed innovative, smart mapping pods that can be rapidly deployed on a range of aircraft to gather fast aerial mapping data in a more sustainable way.
Christchurch City Council Smart Christchurch Manager Michael Healy says the winning idea has exciting potential.

“Aerial imagery is important for decision-making in cities and regions, but the current process is slow and costly. This solution will improve that process and be invaluable for work the Council carries out, such as 3D modelling and monitoring air pollution and water levels.”

UAS & Woods says it was a privilege to be selected from such a high calibre of finalists.

“We are really excited to continue our journey of innovation, and can’t wait to get our system out mapping Canterbury. Thank you to the challenge organisers and judges for such a great competition.”

As well as being a way to find technological solutions to real life problems, the challenge aims to develop a strong pipeline of innovation to support Canterbury’s growing and globally successful aerospace sector.

Nick Bryan, Acting GM Strategy, Insights and Policy of ChristchurchNZ says that as the city’s economic development agency, they have been on a mission to ignite bold ambition in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

“The aerospace sector has jumped on board our ship and launched this bold ambition right alongside us. We have all the right ingredients for our own sustainable aerospace and future transport industry and we are showing the world how it’s done.”

Alexandra Stuthridge, Commercialisation Manager at the Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet), says it’s fantastic to see the aerospace community gather to support Aotearoa’s strong pipeline of aerial innovation.

“New Zealand’s aerospace sector is stretching what’s possible for global aerospace technology and capability. We are delighted to support the 2022 Christchurch Aerospace Challenge, gathering bright minds, and getting their world-leading ideas recognised and ready to disrupt aerial imagery capture globally.”

UAS & Woods was one of three finalists, who were each awarded $10,000 grants in an earlier judging round to develop their innovative ideas. They received mentoring and support from Challenge partners and the local innovation ecosystem to help progress their proposals.

The two runners-up were Swoop Aero and Versatile Airborne Radars. Swoop Aero’s proven technology platform has safely delivered over 800,000 items across 14,500 flights in seven countries since 2017. For this Challenge, Swoop adapted their technology to a new use case, aerial data collection, to help build and strengthen the world-leading aerospace industry in Christchurch.

Versatile Airborne Radars proposed a versatile snow radar for drones and aircrafts augmenting satellite information in the vertical dimension, to address the challenge of losing snow and ice that our world is facing.

The three finalists pitched their solutions to an expert judging panel at the awards ceremony held at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

The Challenge is delivered through a partnership between ChristchurchNZ and the Christchurch City Council and is proudly supported by the University of Canterbury, Aerospace Christchurch and KiwiNet.

More information can be found on

Contact details for winner:
Bevan Lewell

Maksym Khovalko