The competition is called the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Operations Challenge and carries a prize of $500,000.
"Development Projects Inc. leads a technically diverse expert team to conduct this new NASA aeronautics-related challenge competition," said Larry Cooper, program executive for NASA's Centennial Challenges Program in Washington.
"We look forward to working with Development Projects to see this challenge provide advanced technologies and new entrants who will assist in the development of our nation's next generation airspace capabilities."
Development Projects was selected from proposals solicited last year. It will finalize rules, conduct competition preparations and register competitors, who will include private companies, student groups and independent inventors.
The first competition to demonstrate team entries is expected in May 2014.
The NASA Aeronautics Research Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in California is coordinating agency participation in the challenge on behalf of NASA's Space Technology and Aeronautics Research mission directorates.