AlphaPilot – Lockheed Martin AI Drone Racing Innovation Challenge

AlphaPilot – Lockheed Martin AI Drone Racing Innovation Challenge

AlphaPilot is the first large-scale open innovation challenge of its kind focused on advancing artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy. Read Overview...



Calling all coders, gamers, race fans, and drone enthusiasts...


Lockheed Martin and The Drone Racing League (DRL) challenge you to participate in AlphaPilot, an open innovation challenge, developing artificial intelligence (AI) for high-speed racing drones.  


Enter the AlphaPilot Innovation Challenge today for your chance to master autonomous flight and win more than $2,000,000 in cash prizes.


AlphaPilot will challenge teams of up to 10 participants each to design an AI framework, powered by the NVIDIA Jetson platform for AI at the edge, that is capable of flying a drone -- without any human intervention or navigational pre-programming. Autonomous drones will race head-to-head through complex, three-dimensional tracks in DRL’s new Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR) Circuit, starting in 2019.

AlphaPilot aims to unite a diverse community of practicing and emerging AI experts, researchers and students to inspire the next generation of autonomous drone technology. By participating in this challenge, your knowledge and ideas can contribute directly toward the future of autonomous transportation, delivery, disaster relief, and even space exploration!



Why Drones?

Drone racing is a futuristic sport, and a big draw for millennials and K-12 students with an interest in technology — many of whom will become future STEM professionals, drone pilots and engineers. Lockheed Martin recognizes the important role in helping to develop a workforce with skills to compete in a 21st century high-tech economy. Lockheed Martin and DRL are targeting U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to apply for AlphaPilot; however, the competition is open to drone enthusiasts, coders and technologists of all ages from around the world.


Why is Lockheed Martin doing this?

For more than 100 years, Lockheed Martin has been redefining flight — from the fastest speeds, to the edge of space, to unmatched maneuverability and stealth. AI-enabled autonomy promises to fundamentally change the future of flight, and we are actively developing disruptive new AI technologies that will help our customers accomplish their most important missions – from reaching Mars to fighting wildfires.



  • Click ACCEPT CHALLENGE above to apply for AlphaPilot.
  • Read the Challenge Guidelines to learn about competition.
  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the discussion, ask questions or connect with other innovators.


Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. This year, the company received three Edison awards for groundbreaking innovations in autonomy, satellite technology and directed energy. For more information, please visit www.lockheedmartin.com/alphapilot.





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. In 2018 DRL hosted a global series of seven races, the Allianz World Championship, that is airing on ESPN, Sky Sports, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Groupe AB, Disney XD, OSN, and FOX Sports Asia. For more information, please visit www.drl.io

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Sponsors & Sponsorships

AlphaPilot is not going to be easy, but you shouldn’t have to go at it alone! That’s why we are encouraging teams to find sponsors for financial assistance, resources, general support and all-around advocacy. Who can sponsor your team? Anyone – universities, companies, investors, crowd funding…you name it.


Why sponsor a team? If you’re a believer in artificial intelligence and want to establish yourself as a thought-leader, what better way than to champion a team that’s redefining state-of-the-art! It’s a small commitment for a relatively large return. As a sponsor, you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your chosen team and get your name out there in our filmed content and public engagements.


What does it require? That’s up to you. Between $5,000 - $10,000 should cover a team’s travel requirements, should they make the final round. Some in-kind contributions may include access to GPU hardware and high-performance computing infrastructure, support from professors or subject matter experts, and flight time in licensed drone facilities.


How to sponsor a team? Find a team you like and form a sponsorship agreement. This can occur in any number of ways. To help, sponsors can share the sponsorship opportunities they have available in the Resources Section. In addition, sponsors can browse all teams that have registered for the AlphaPilot Challenge and reach out to team captains directly via their team page You can also meet teams via online forums, conferences, social events, and other in-person engagements. In many cases, sponsors may be the university or company from which the team is affiliated. However it happens, the AlphaPilot team will permit the agreement so long as the sponsorship does not violate any contest Rules and Regulations. Teams that are selected for the final round may be asked to disclose information regarding their sponsor and sponsorship agreement as a requirement for continued participation.


Are you a true believer? Become part of the program! 

Lockheed Martin has reserved several sponsorship slots for our AlphaPilot racing events. If your organization is interested in becoming an official sponsor and would like more information on benefits and pricing options, please . We welcome you on our journey to galvanize public interest in artificial intelligence and democratize the technology for all – practitioners and fans!

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