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Drone Racing Competition – Learning, Defending, and Attacking

Drones flying
Advancements in drone technology have spawned an entirely new competitive high-speed sport with a first-person view that involves piloting a drone against other racers through a course with several checkpoints. Photo: Dan Mirolli for Virginia Tech.

Principal Investigator: 
The project will be led by Jonathan Black, professor of aerospace and ocean engineering and director of the Aerospace and Ocean Systems Laboratory in the Virginia Tech Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

Project Description: 
Drones can accomplish diverse tasks, from delivering packages to military reconnaissance. Advancements in drone technology have spawned an entirely new competitive high-speed sport with a first-person view that involves piloting a drone against other racers through a course with several checkpoints. This project will build multidisciplinary teams of students who will compete in a series of “battle” drone-based AI competitions. The competitions will increase in course difficulty, include local companies for mentoring, and evolve to include cybersecurity challenges such as positioning communications systems degradation, jamming, and adversarial AI. Students will be encouraged to understand the existing infrastructure and to find ways to increase their chances of surviving and defeating their opponents.