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 25

Test 2 + 3 Algorithm Scores

April 16, 2019, 8:34 a.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

Attention AlphaPilot Teams,

We have now adjusted the Test #2 Leaderboard to reflect your final calculated algorithm scores. To clarify, the numbers seen previously were your mean average precision (MAP) score only. The total algorithm score accounts for average completion time, and is represented by the equation below:

You’ll note that scores are normalized for a maximum value of 70 (combined with the 30 points Test #2 written submission to equal 100 points for final judging). Test #3 scores as they appear on the Leaderboard have also been normalized to 70 points when for ease of comparison.

Teams have now been notified of their status in the AlphaPilot Qualifiers and additional scoring details released in the coming weeks.

Best Regards,
The AlphaPilot Team

Final Leaderboard Scores Released

April 9, 2019, 4:03 p.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

Greetings AlphaPilot Competitors!

Congratulations on fantastic Qualifier entries! We cannot emphasize enough how impressive they’ve been. Watching the online community develop has been inspirational. Your collective effort, enthusiasm, and technical performance has blown us all away. Bravo. We hope this has been a fun (yet challenging) experience for you as well!

We’re sure you’re all eager to see your final algorithm scores. They can now be found on the ‘Leaderboard’ tab.

Please note that these are not your Final Qualifier Scores – they are just the quantitate scores for Tests #2 and Test #3. Remember, your Final Qualifier Score will combined these quantitative scores with Test #1 scores and the qualitative portions of Test #2 and Test #3. That being said, these scores are indicative of overall performance and can be used as a rough measure.

Teams that are selected as AlphaPilot Finalists can expect direct notification by April 19th.


The AlphaPilot Team

Test 3 Debugging

April 3, 2019, 1:15 p.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

Greetings to those AlphaPilot Competitors still troubleshooting Test 3!

Thanks to all the hard work teams have put in to create a Test 3 submission that runs well within our testing setup! We had a chance to do a preliminary review all the Test 3 submissions, and while many teams were successful with the troubleshooting process, we realize some teams are still struggling to generate a working submission.

We will be reaching out to those teams still working and offer them until Monday, April 8th at 12PM PST to debug.

With the review of Test 3 submissions, Lockheed Martin and HeroX has created a list of prioritized errors teams are facing. Today and tomorrow (April 3 and 4) LM and HeroX are looking into these prioritized errors to determine what additional guidance and troubleshooting ideas we can provide. This information will be posted to the Test 3 Forum as soon as it is available. Over the weekend, teams will have the opportunity to try implementing these (and any other) debugging ideas but support will be limited from Friday on.

Monday, April 8th at 12PM PST is the final cut-off for creating a working submission. After this time, failed submissions will receive a Test 3 score of 0.

We hope this helps teams that are still struggling!

The AlphaPilot Team

Test 3 New Pre-installed Packages

March 29, 2019, 6:26 p.m. PDT by Chelsea Sabo

Greetings to those AlphaPilot Competitors still troubleshooting Test 3!

Due to the bugs that teams are running into trying to get ROS packages installed in our testing environment, we have decided to make the full desktop version of ROS available to teams including the base packages that come with it(ros-kinetic-desktop-full). As always, teams can include executables or additional code to compile from source.

If your team requires additional ROS packages that are not included in those above, please send us a direct message with the libraries needed, and we will gather a list to make available.

Given the update to the test runner, we suggest teams that were affected by this to re-upload their submission.

Hoping this helps teams that are still struggling!

The AlphaPilot Team

Test 3 Submission Checking In Progress!

March 28, 2019, 4:03 a.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

Greetings AlphaPilot Competitors!

We have now begun the AlphaPilot Test #3 Submission Checking process for all teams to use as an assurance that their code compiles and scores successfully.  You will have until Monday, April 1st at 12:00 noon ET (New York) to evaluate, modify, and resubmit your code. Submitting code to the Submission Checker will generate an email with a Success/Failure output. Successful submissions will be finalized, while failed submissions may be modified and resubmitted as many times as necessary prior to the deadline. The submission checking email was sent to your team captain. If you do not see it, please check your spam folder.

Best of luck and happy coding!

The AlphaPilot Team

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