The third and final competition in DARPA’s AlphaDogfight Trials will take place virtually August 18-20 instead of in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participating teams and audience members will watch online as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms control simulated F-16 fighters in aerial combat, culminating in a matchup on August 20 between the top AI and an experienced Air Force fighter pilot flying a virtual reality F-16 simulator.
“We weren’t able to host the finals at AFWERX in Las Vegas as we’d originally planned with fighter pilots from the Air Force Weapons School at nearby Nellis Air Force Base,” said Col. Dan “Animal” Javorsek, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. “We are still excited to see how the AI algorithms perform against each other as well as a Weapons School-trained human and hope that fighter pilots from across the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as military leaders and members of the AI tech community will register and watch online. It’s been amazing to see how far the teams have advanced AI for autonomous dogfighting in less than a year.”
Eight teams were selected last year to compete in the trials, which aim to demonstrate advanced AI algorithms capable of performing simulated within-visual-range air combat maneuvering, colloquially known as a dogfight. The series of trials were designed to energize and expand a base of AI developers for DARPA’s Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program. ACE seeks to automate air-to-air combat and build human trust in AI as a step toward improved human-machine teaming.