AI drone pilots will challenge humans in competition sponsored by Lockheed Martin

Drone racing has only been a human sport for a few years, but artificial intelligence is already gunning to take over. Today, the Drone Racing League (DRL), which is one of the foremost organizations trying to turn drone racing into the next NASCAR, announced a new competition for teams to develop AI pilots for its aircraft.

With backing from aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, DRL wants to recruit developers from around the world, including students and drone enthusiasts. They’ll have to create an AI that’s capable of flying one of DRL’s standardized quadcopters through its complex race courses without preprogramming or human supervision. Teams will then compete in the DRL’s upcoming 2019 season by racing against one another in the same courses as human pilots as part of the newly designated Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR) circuit.

Up for grabs is more than $2 million in prizes, with

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