AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge open for applicants

Nov 13, 2018

Lockheed Martin's recently-launched AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge is officially live and ready to formally accept applications (from both United States and global sources). The application process runs until 28 February 2019.

The competition challenges teams to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology that will enable an autonomous drone to win a race against a pilot-operated drone. Participating teams will compete in a series of challenges for their share of over $2 million (USD) in prizes.

AlphaPilot was launched earlier this year by Lockheed Martin Chief Technology Officer Keoki Jackson through a partnership with The Drone Racing League (DRL), the global professional circuit for drone racing. The objective of this challenge is to accelerate the development and testing of fully autonomous drone technologies. AlphaPilot participants will design an AI framework, powered by the NVIDIA Jetson platform for AI at the edge, capable of flying a drone – without any pre-programming or human intervention – through challenging multi-dimensional race courses in DRL's inaugural 2019 Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR) Circuit.

Through its partnerships with universities around the globe, Lockheed Martin wanted to ensure the AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge is open to the "innovative ideas from students, coders and AI enthusiasts from around the world," said Lockheed Martin CTO Keoki Jackson. "We are inviting the next generation of innovators, including undergraduate and graduate students from around the world, to help us define the future of autonomy and AI."
The Lockheed Martin AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge officially opens for entries on 13 November 2018. Selected participants are eligible for over $2 million (USD) in cash prizes, including an extra $250,000 award for the first team that outperforms a professional DRL human-piloted drone in a head-to-head race. Undergraduate and graduate students, drone enthusiasts, coders and other technologists interested in learning more and applying to participate can visit or The company anticipates accepting teams of up to 10 participants each.
"We are delighted to welcome AlphaPilot to Canada and excited for the opportunity to mentor young Canadians looking to shape the future of flight," said chief executive for Lockheed Martin Canada Charles Bouchard. "This competition is a natural fit given both Lockheed Martin's track record in pioneering new AI-enabled technologies and Canada's growing international reputation in innovative fields including remotely piloted aircraft systems."
While commending Lockheed Martin for leading the way, Christian Cotichini, CEO of crowd sourcing platform HeroX noted that projects such as this are "the future of innovation," adding, "I can't wait to see what breakthroughs the top global innovators create in autonomous drone technology."

The Drone Racing League (DRL) is the professional drone racing circuit for elite FPV pilots around the world. A technology, sports and media company, DRL combines world-class media and proprietary technology to create thrilling 3D drone racing content with mass appeal. Noting that DRL is at the "forefront of developing groundbreaking drone technology," company CEO and Founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski, expressed how thrilled the company is to collaborate with Lockheed to "discover the best and the brightest in AI [and] to push the boundaries of fully autonomous flight in AIRR – and we believe AI is an important part of the future of drone innovation."

Lockheed Martin Canada, headquartered in Ottawa, is the Canadian-based arm of Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global security and aerospace company employing 100,000 people worldwide. Lockheed Martin Canada has been Canada's trusted defence partner for nearly 80 years specializing in the development, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The company employs approximately 1,000 employees at major facilities in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, and Victoria, working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and commercial sectors.

Teams can register here: