Military Embedded Systems

'Swarm and Search AI Challenge' launched by U.S., U.K. research institutes


January 22, 2019

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

'Swarm and Search AI Challenge' launched by U.S., U.K. research institutes

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio. Officials at the U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Wright Brothers Institute, and the University of Dayton Research Institute launched an artificial intelligence (AI) challenge that will conclude with a final showdown on March 29 - 31, 2019.

The “Swarm and Search AI Challenge: 2019 Fire Hack” challenge aims to find new, efficient and resilient ways to plan complex unmanned aerial systems (UAS) search and rescue missions. The focus of the challenge revolves around mapping wildfires and assumes that improved mission planning, and the ability to react to dynamic changes, has the potential to minimize damage and save lives. However, the solutions created may also apply to defense applications.

“Swarming UAS is rich with innovation and we are looking to solve perceived problems and invent new ways of controlling swarms of drones,” says Timothy Wright, DSTL’s Aerospace Systems Group Leader. “There are also a number of Science and Technology challenges already commissioned in this area that link closely with the proposed outputs from this challenge.”

In the challenge, teams will work remotely, via a closed, online collaboration platform to explore different fire map scenarios using Air Force-licensed software. All teams will benefit from exposure to new markets and a chance to test their technology against their competition.

The Top 10 teams selected will move forward to the international stage taking place March 29 - 31. The top three teams will then be selected and those teams will be awarded cash prizes and will also learn about upcoming funding opportunities. The highest scoring solution will be showcased at the 2019 AUVSI Conference and the U.K. Embassy Showcase in Washington D.C.

U.S. registration runs through Feb. 26, 2019. The online competition concludes March 15, 2019. For more information, visit