58,857 accept challenge
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

Updates 9

Test 2 and 3 Updates and Leaderboard Open

Feb. 15, 2019, 10:04 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

Attention all AlphaPilot Contestants,

Long-awaited details about the Test 2 and Test 3 final exams as well as the Leaderboard practice exams are now out!

Teams can download the exam resources and submit their results to the Leaderboards at any time. The Leaderboard is there to benchmark your performance compared to other teams and get a sense of how your team will perform on the final exam. Leaderboard scores are self-reported and are based on the honor system. That being said, any teams that are found to be submitting false results to the leaderboard will be noted and flagged during judging.

The first round on the leaderboard will close at Monday, Feb. 18th at 11:59PM PST, and any submissions will appear on the leaderboard by 9:00AM PST the following day. After this, the leaderboard will refresh daily until the final deadline.

We updated many of the Test 2 and Test 3 details so please review the information carefully.

You will also find several new items:

Additional further updates will be posted as needed. Otherwise, teams should submit their algorithm source code archives and technical reports by March 8!

We wish everyone the best of luck with the exams and are standing by to answer any questions on the forums.

Test #3 Details Available

Feb. 8, 2019, 4:33 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

Attention all AlphaPilot Contestants,

Today we are releasing additional details on Qualifier Test #3 - Guidance, Navigation & Control!

This third component of AlphaPilot qualifications will focus on a team’s ability to design algorithms for the guidance, navigation, and control of an autonomous drone. You can find details on Test #3 here.

Test #3 is built on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) FlightGoggles simulator, a first-of-its-kind virtual reality environment for drone research and development. You can find the source code for the simulator, more information about how to get started, and some example challenge files here: http://flightgoggles.mit.edu/


Have Questions?

  • Teams may file a report on the simulator GitHub page if they encounter any bugs or errors. Issues will be addressed by the MIT team there as quickly as possible.
  • Any specific questions about the AlphaPilot Test 3 challenge should be posted and addressed on the HeroX Test 3 Forum page.

AlphaPilot Competition Technical Details

Feb. 7, 2019, 9:59 a.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

We are excited about the critical and creative thinking about the AlphaPilot qualifications and competition!

We would like to update all the teams on some technical details for the AlphaPilot competition to help your team formulate an approach and answer Test #1 questions.

All teams that qualify for the AlphaPilot competition will utilize the same drone configuration. Here are some highlights about the DRL AIRR quadcopter technical specifications:

Sensor Suite

  • 3 x stereo camera pairs provide over 180 deg field-of-view and are the primary feedback source for navigation
  • 6-DOF IMU with gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnometer provide odometry
  • Incorporation of a laser rangefinder

Computational Resources

  • NVIDIA Tegra Xavier GPU will provide computational power to the drone
  • Utilization of NVIDIA Deep Learning SDK, NVIDIA VisionWorks, CUDA Toolkit, TensorFlow, OpenCV
  • Teams will operate the AIRR drone in ACRO/RATE mode where the input is angular velocities

Development and Testing

  • Each qualifying team will receive a Development Kit consisting of the AIRR Rule Book, development program including coding tools and access to the DRL AIRR Simulator, and a skeleton version of the DRL AIRR drone (i.e. a platform with the same sensing and computational resources but without a propulsion system) which can be used for development and testing
  • The primary resource available to teams for development and testing will be the Development Kitwhere all programming will be in C++/CUDA
  • LMCO and DRL are planning to host workshops and other opportunities for teams to share best practices, meet with their Lockheed Martin team mentors, and discuss development with engineers from AlphaPilot and AIRR

Test #2 Details Available Now

Feb. 1, 2019, 9:58 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

Attention all AlphaPilot Contestants,

Today we are launching our Qualifier Test #2 -  The Eye Exam!

You will find a few new items:

We will be releasing additional resources in the form of ground-truth (i.e. image labels) for the training data on or before February 15th.

Additionally, February 15th will mark the launch of our “practice exam”, where teams can test their algorithms and post a score to a leaderboard on HeroX.  

We wish everyone the best of luck with Test #2 and are standing by to answer any questions on the forum.

More details on Test #3, including the release of the simulator, will be available next Friday, February 8th.

More details released!

Jan. 25, 2019, 8:26 p.m. PST by Kyla Jeffrey

Today, AlphaPilot is releasing additional details on its Qualifier Test #2 and Test #3. Please have a look at the additional content and, as usual, post any questions to the appropriate forum. We will review your feedback and provide updates as needed. Stay tuned for the release of Test #2 image library on February 1st and the Test #3 simulator on February 8th…and keep those Test #1 entries coming!


Qualifier Timeline:

  • 1/18/2019: Test #1 opened
  • 2/1/2019: Test #2 opens (resources available)
  • 2/8/2019: Test #3 opens (resources available)
  • 3/8/2019: Final deadline for all Test entries (official close of registration)

What Can I Do Now?

Forum 50
Community 1.9K
Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
powered by: