During Mission 7, teams demonstrated interaction between fully autonomous aerial robots and moving objects (specifically, autonomous ground robots), navigation in a sterile environment with no external navigation aids such as GPS or large stationary points of reference such as walls, and interaction between moving obstacles.
Mission 7 took a monumental leap by requiring automonous aerial robots to interact with and control autonomous ground robots. Teams were tasked with developing systems to herd ground robots out one end of an arena in the absence of 3D cues such as walls. The ground robots could only be interacted with by touch. A top touch would command a 45 degree clockwise turn and a blocking action would result in a 180 degree turn. To complicate matters, the ground robots do a 180 degree turn every 20 seconds and add up to 15 degrees of trajectory noise every 5 seconds. The ground robots also impact one another and quickly devolve into non-derministic travel. In the midst of the arena were four obstacle robots to complicate navigation and obstacle avoidance. The aerial robots had to dynamically determine a best course of action to keep the ground robots from exiting the arena on three of four sides of the arena.
The top performing teams in 2017 consistently demonstrated the ability to (a) fly completely autonomously, (b) search the arena for ground robots, (c) actively avoid arena obstacles, (d) track ground robots, (e) descend to block path and reverse direction of ground robots, (f) actuate the "top touch" switches, and (g) interact with multiple ground robots during a 10-minute run. All of the requisite Mission 7 behaviors had been demonstrated in 2017 by different teams, but no single team has demonstrated everything. The 2018 competition would see the end of Mission 7, with a winner being announced.