US Air Force to Host AI-Based Airlift Competition

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has announced an airlift challenge competition to identify “advanced state-of-the-art planning algorithms” for airlift operations.

International researchers and students can join the event to demonstrate their artificial intelligence (AI) expertise and construct new airlift algorithms from January 23 to February 27.

Three participants, including one in the student category, will be selected as winners. Each will be invited to showcase the resulting solutions to AFRL experts.

Furthermore, the winning groups will be given an opportunity to publish a joint paper at the upcoming SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing exhibit in Orlando, Florida.

Addressing Airlift Challenges Through AI

“A large demand and tight deadlines make airlift operations difficult to plan even under ideal conditions. Unexpected disruptions only further complicate the problem, potentially introducing major delays and stressing planning software to its limits,” AFRL Machine Learning Researcher Dr. Andre Beckus stated.

Airlift route scenario
Airlift route scenario. Photo: AFRL

“The Airlift Challenge provides a simulation environment in which artificial intelligence, or AI, agents can interact.”

“Agents will be tested against a series of scenarios of ever-increasing complexity with evaluation ending when a time limit is reached or when the agent misses too many deliveries.”

ACoRD Program

Meanwhile, the AFRL has launched a funding opportunity that seeks proposals to support the US Department of Defense’s Aeroscience Collaborative Research and Development (ACoRD) through January 16.

The $31.5 million program is expected to produce “foundational technologies” offering readiness for future aerospace assets.

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