Watch AI-controlled virtual fighters take on an Air Force pilot August 18th

Elva Mankin

DARPA held the second trial in January this year and pitted participants’ greatly improved algorithms against AI adversaries developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Both trials were hosted in person at the APL.

The third trial will be streamed from the APL, as well, with eight teams flying against the lab’s AI adversary algorithms on the first day and then against each other in a round robin tournament on the second. It’s the first time the participants are pitting their AIs against one another in public. On the last day, the top four AIs will compete in a single-elimination tournament for the championship title. The last team standing will then get the chance to fly against an Air Force fighter pilot controlling a virtual plane.

Col. Dan “Animal” Javorsek, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, said in a statement:

“Regardless of whether the human or machine wins the final dogfight, the AlphaDogfight Trials is all about increasing trust in AI. If the champion AI earns the respect of an F-16 pilot, we’ll have come one step closer to achieving effective human-machine teaming in air combat, which is the goal of the ACE program.”

Teams from Aurora Flight Sciences, EpiSys Science, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Heron Systems, Lockheed Martin, Perspecta Labs, PhysicsAI and SoarTech make up the eight participants for trial 3. Interested viewers will have to register beforehand to able to tune in: US citizens have until August 17th to sign up, while everyone else has until August 11th.

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