122 registrations from 17 nations, 33 participants, 9 teams, 2 tracks and 2 winners – the final of the Deep Drone Challenge organized by brigkAIR and Airbus, an international competition in the field of drone technology and artificial intelligence, has almost exactly one year after the call took place.
The start-up incubator for three-dimensional mobility brigkAIR and Europe’s largest aerospace company Airbus launched the call about a year ago and were looking for interested and talented participants for the highly endowed Deep Drone Challenge competition. This was followed by 122 applications from 17 countries. After a selection made and the warm-up that had already been carried out, the nine best teams were able to demonstrate their passion for drones in the final on August 7, 2021.
The participants had the opportunity to concentrate on one of two main topics and to develop appropriate solutions:
- The Drone Bot: With the help of speech recognition and artificial intelligence, the drone should be able to complete a defined route with existing obstacles and communicate with the tower via radio like a human pilot.
- The Pathfinder: The drone should reach a defined target point as quickly as possible and completely autonomously and be able to overcome any sudden disturbances. During the rescue operation, both physical and augmented, virtual obstacles are overcome using computer vision.
BThe aim of both courses was to focus on the software development of the artificial intelligence. In the future, autonomous flying taxis will be organized by an automated system. Since this system is not yet widely available, the classic radiotelephone to the tower represents the fallback as well as in the event of a system failure. The challenge for the artificial intelligence in the drone bot was to filter out interference and to take into account the rules of radiotelephony and the NATO alphabet.
For the Pathfinder, scenarios were selected that were based on the potential uses of the CityAirbus. For example, rescue missions are a conceivable scenario as an alternative to the ADAC helicopter. In the Deep Drone Challenge, the respective aircraft should fly autonomously to the scene with the help of artificial intelligence. The system had to determine the best and fastest route and also react to spontaneous events. In addition to physical obstacles, virtual objects were placed true to scale in the room. Various technical approaches in hardware and software competed against each other.
The basis for the evaluation was formed by parameters such as precision, flight time and novelty. The assessment was carried out by an expert jury, which was made up of representatives from business. These include Dr. Andreas Thellmann, Airbus, Wolfgang Scheidler, Bundeswehr, Florian Seibel, Quantum Systems, Maximilian Galler, DRONEXT, Dr. Franz Glatz, brigk.
Dr. Franz Glatz, managing director of Digitalen Gründerzentrum brigk:
The Deep Drone Challenge showed us that motivation, ambition and team spirit are important characteristics and drivers in order to encourage participants to perform at their best. After almost a year of preparation, the teams showed great results and thus made it clear to the established companies in this industry how important innovative startups and students are. With the competition, we also presented Ingolstadt as an interesting region for unmanned flying. A business idea and company start-ups may later emerge from one or the other prototype, which we can promote and establish here in the region.
The team Flying Algorithms from Poland was able to secure victory on the Drone Bot Track. Michał Jagielski, Agata and Michał Barciś, drone researchers at the University of Klagenfurt, successfully mastered the challenge of speech recognition and received the most points from the jury. The team won € 25,000 in prize money. The team Coral Drone from Ingolstadt mastered the Pathfinder track best. Andre Heißner, Leonard Moschcau and Max Zimmermann, students at the Technical University of Ingolstadt, also won € 25,000 in prize money.
The Deep Drone Challenge should establish itself as a recurring, international competition in which different topics are dealt with. The final of this year’s Deep Drone Challenge took place on the grounds of the Airbus Drone Center in Feilenmoos. Further information on the individual teams, the jury, etc. can be found on the social media channels Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn of brigkAIR.
Digitales Gründerzentrum der Region Ingolstadt GmbH
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