On Tuesday, the professional drone racing league, DRL, kicked off a series of events featuring AI-powered drones. Nine participants met at the closed field of the Financial Arena in Orlando, where they had to overcome a set of obstacles at a speed of 145 km / h without the participation of operators. After this stage of the race, the competition will continue in the next three months at three more sites. The winner will receive a $ 1 million prize from sponsor Lockheed Martin.
All drones are identical. Each of them has software installed from 9 teams selected from more than 400 participants who have expressed a desire to take part in the races.
The drone racing league first became famous 4 years ago. Then the first competition was held with the participation of drones controlled by professional pilots. Thanks to NBC and Sky TV, as well as sponsors BMW, Seagate and Lockheed Martin, the races gained worldwide fame, and their winners began to receive multimillion-dollar prizes.
Last year, DRL CEO and Founder Nicholas Gorbachevsky wanted to include at least one manned drone in the AI race, but soon found that no AI-powered UAV could compete with it. He later found out that Lockheed Martin was trying to stimulate the development of software for computer vision and AI for drones in this way.
As a result, Gorbachevsky entered into an agreement to jointly hold the AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge, the goal of which is to attract programmers to the development of advanced applications for racing drones.