$2 million in prizes up for grabs in new drone racing competition

More than $2 million in total prizes will be awarded to top participants, Lockheed Martin said on a website page announcing the competition.

Lockheed Martin and the Drone Racing League have partnered to launch a competition for artificial intelligence technologies that will be used to power an unmanned aircraft system during a race with a pilot-operated drone.

As for the financial incentive for undergraduates, graduates, drone enthusiasts, programmers, and other tech experts to apply, there's over $2 million in cash prizes serving as prime motivation.

"At Lockheed Martin, we are working to pioneer state-of-the-art, AI-enabled technologies that can help solve some of the world's most complex challenges - from fighting wildfires and saving lives during natural disasters to exploring the farthest reaches of deep space", said Jackson. Jackson announced AlphaPilot at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco.

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Participants in AlphaPilot will design an AI framework powered by the NVIDIA Jetson platform, "capable of flying..."

For Horbaczewski, the mission isn't just to spur professional drone pilots to keep up with their AI-driven competition, but to stimulate the artificial intelligence industry as a whole, as well. "Our collaboration with Lockheed Martin will both accelerate AI innovation and redefine the sport of the future". We're excited to find out next year when AlphaPilot drones compete in adrenaline-packed, futuristic drone races on complex courses in the AIRR Circuit. AI races in its inaugural season.

The 2018 season for human drone pilots will take place at several locations ranging from a biosphere in Arizona and The Adventuredome at Circus Circus Las Vegas to the Allianz Riviera soccer stadium in Nice, France to a BMW factory in Munich, Germany.

"By 2020, it's anyone's race", Horbaczewski told VentureBeat in an email, adding that an autonomous drone could join the DRL as soon as 2021.

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