Press Release

AI Bests Human Fighter Pilot in AlphaDogfight Trial at Johns Hopkins APL

Credit: DARPA/Johns Hopkins APL

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 10:08

In a matchup of human versus machine, the decisive winner was Heron Systems’ artificial intelligence against an experienced human F-16 fighter pilot in a simulated aerial battle that capped the AlphaDogfight Trials (ADT) on Aug. 20 at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

Viewers watched on YouTube as Heron Systems, a Maryland-based defense contractor that builds autonomous agents and AI-powered multi-agent systems, went 5–0 against F-16 pilot “Banger” in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) virtual competition. ADT, part of DARPA’s Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program, was intended to forge greater trust in autonomous systems for air combat.

Reminiscent of an esports tournament, participants watched via ZoomGov webinars and eventually a YouTube livestream as eight teams battled for three days to earn the showdown with Banger in the event finale. Heron Systems was joined by Aurora Flight Sciences, EpiSys Science, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Lockheed Martin, Perspecta Labs, PhysicsAI and SoarTech.