(ENGADGET) -- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, DARPA will no longer hold an in-person event for its third and final AlphaDogfight Trial that’s scheduled to take place from August 18th to the 20th. It’ll be held virtually instead, and both participants and viewers alike can watch online as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms control simulated F-16 fighter planes in aerial combat. By the end of the three-day event, viewers will even get to witness a matchup between the top AI and an experienced Air Force fighter pilot who’ll also be controlling a virtual F-16.
The Department of Defense agency started the AlphaDogfight Trials to expand its base of AI developers under the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program. ACE’s purpose is to automate air-to-air combat and to build human pilots’ trust in artificial intelligence, so they can fight side-by-side in the future. The first trial, which was held in November 2019, featured algorithms in early development.
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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.