AI Comes to Drone Racing

In an interesting mix between AI and Drone Racing, the Drone Racing League in partnership with Lockheed Martin have announced a new drone racing circuit that combines AI driving Drones around a race course with the winner getting a 1 million dollar price with a $250,000 bonus if they can beat a real live drone racing champion.

First Published in the website Axios.

“In an attempt to drive interest and research into autonomous vehicles, the Drone Racing League and Lockheed Martin have partnered up to create the AlphaPilot competition.

How it works: 430 teams, each armed with an autonomous drone, are currently participating in qualifying rounds. Nine make the Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing Circuit
finals, where the winners will go home with $1 million. If a team’s
A.I. drone can also beat a human pilot head-to-head, they get an extra
$250,000.

Why it matters:
Autonomous drones are part of our future. And for them to be useful in
places like disaster areas, they need to be able to fly fast, far and
without human oversight.

  • Right now, that’s a huge challenge, as they lack the ability to detect real-world environments and can be thrown off by something as simple as a shadow, which limits their top speed.
  • The hope is that the AlphaPilot competition leads to increased awareness about the future of not just autonomous drones, but all autonomous vehicles. And maybe even a technological breakthrough.”

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