Leonardo: more and more technology in the 2021 Drone Contest

(To Leonardo)

New technologies and features to be applied in a new arena: the “drone game” takes shape in view of the edition of Leonardo Drone Contest 2021. The formula, as well as for the first edition, will include a scientific and technological presentation symposium, at the end of next spring, and the development of the new tender which will also be held at the Leonardo Aircraft headquarters in Turin in the autumn.

On 23 September, the first edition was awarded with the victory of the Politecnico di Milano while the University of Bologna was awarded by "Special Jury Prize". A few months after the conclusion of the first race also all the other teams of the participating universities, the Polytechnic of Turin, the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, the University of Rome Tor Vergata and the University of Naples Federico II they are already thinking and working on the next challenge.

The new modalities of the next university competition of artificial intelligence, unique of its kind on the international scene, foresee a real game between the drones which, in cooperation with ground sensors, will compose the reality around them, in order to speed up the execution of the mission. New features and technologies such as Teaming / Swarming, Objective based Task Allocation, Drone interaction with external agents, Visual Inertial Odometry, Autonomous Trajectory planning, Identification and Tracking, Computer Vision and Autonomous Decision Making will be the focus of the PhD students' work.

In the race field, in a challenge against time, the tests will involve the drone collecting, through photographs and videos, the necessary information that will allow the team to define the best landing mission in the pitches and thus maximize the race score.

The drone with the information received will have to autonomously move between buildings and areas with reduced visibility to complete its mission. Cooperation with sensors on the territory will be essential to identify all objects in the shortest possible time and begin to develop collaboration skills between the drone and other platforms, thus preparing the ground for the 2022 contest where collaborative flight will be the main protagonist. .

The technological innovations that will be introduced, in a leitmotiv consistent with the objective of Leonardo Drone Contest, fit perfectly with the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Sensor Fusion and Machine Learning applied to systems unmanned, in full support of the Strategic Plan Be Tomorrow - Leonardo 2030 and in particular the direction aimed at the development of remote piloted and autonomous solutions enhanced by artificial intelligence.

The objective of the Leonardo Drone Contest, that is to create synergies between development and academic research, aims in fact to favor the development of both technologies relating to artificial intelligence applied to unmanned both the birth of an ecosystem that involves large companies, universities, Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), spin off e startup.