On December 6, 2019, the MAVLab team won the AI Robotic Racing (AIRR) world championship, taking home 1 Million dollars in prize money!
The AIRR competition was an autonomous drone race season set up by Lockheed Martin and the Drone Racing League, aiming to push the boundaries of AI for robotics. Whereas typically autonomous drones fly rather slowly, the goal of AIRR was to have drones compete against each other on a ~80 meter racing track with the goal to finish the track as fast as possible. High-speed autonomous flight is extremely challenging, especially on real-world tracks with very limited testing time. We won the world championship race in a thrilling match, where we finished the track in 12 seconds, just 3 seconds faster than the runner-up, the Robotics and Perception Group from the UZH in Zürich. As the winner, our team also had to compete with one of the best human drone race pilots, “Gab707”. He still beat our drone fair and square, finishing the track in 7 seconds.
Below, please see our video with our winning 12 seconds run.