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Lockheed’s $2 Million Drone Race Pits Human Versus Machine

Air Force Confident of ‘Fair’ Price for Lockheed GPS Satellites

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

In a modern-day version of John Henry taking on a steam drill, Lockheed Martin Corp. is pitting human pilots against artificial intelligence in a $2 million drone race.

The catch is that the computer-driven drones can’t be pre-programmed for the route or rely on human intervention. They must depend only on artificial intelligence and self-learning to navigate obstacle-filled racecourses that professional human drone pilots routinely rip through at more than 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour, said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed’s chief technology officer.