Drone Contest: a project is underway in the field of Artificial Intelligence applied to drones

Leonardo is launching the challenge between six of the most important Italian universities that will be taking part in an innovative project of collaboration between industry and academia, lasting three years, in order to carry out research activities in the field of Artificial Intelligence as applied to drones.

21 June 2019

Autonomous driving systems, which are part of the broader scope of Artificial Intelligence applications, will be increasingly essential for the Leonardo products of the future. For this reason, our company has decided to launch an Open Innovation project capable of conveying innovation and stimulating new ideas regarding the increasingly complex requirements expressed by customers.

Based on an unprecedented collaboration model, Leonardo’s contest is a challenge in which six Italian universities will compete to design prototypes of a drone capable of flying autonomously in a GPS denied environment, using artificial intelligence logics.

Presented in Turin on 21 June, this initiative aims to promote cooperation and links between business, academia and research, development and innovative applications of UAV Artificial Intelligence technologies, as well as fostering the creation of new professional figures by improving resource scouting and encouraging entrepreneurship in the UAV Artificial Intelligence sector. 

Competing will be Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Politecnico di Torino, Politecnico di Milano, Università di Bologna, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa and Università di Napoli Federico II.

Each of the six universities will select a PhD student who will be involved in this research project for three years, thanks to Leonardo's support, through a public call for applications. The competition is scheduled to start in October 2019 and end in October 2022

To meet this challenge, it will be necessary to coordinate a wide range of skills including flight capability, computer vision, sensor fusion, big data, computing capacity, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Progress will be evaluated through annual competitions between the participating teams, based on requirements with increasing complexity and difficulty. The evaluations will also be an occasion to create opportunities for discussions on scientific issues and dissemination of the STEM disciplines.

Leonardo’s Drone Contest was set up with the aim of fostering the creation of a national ecosystem that includes universities, SMEs, start-ups and spin-offs in the field of Artificial Intelligence applied to uncrewed systems (aerial drones). With this project, Leonardo intends to inspire, entertain and stimulate interest in these technologies and facilitate research in Italy. Through this competition, Leonardo will invest in the training of new talents able to contribute to the future of mobility and autonomous transport. Good luck in the competition!