DARPA virtual dogfight will include battle between AI and human pilot

DARPA has revealed its plans for the final of three AlphaDogfight Trials, a competition that will — this time around — take place entirely online. Anyone will be able to register and stream the competition, giving them a chance to see the latest and greatest artificial intelligence algorithms compete against each other in fighter jets, as well as against a human fighter pilot who will use a simulator.

Dogfight refers to two combat aircraft battling with each other; in this case, the aircraft are simulations and the battle takes place in a virtual world. DARPA's Dogfight Trials competition involves three events, the first two of which have already happened. This time around, the agency says the tournament will be entirely virtual due to the pandemic and the risks of being close to others.

The third (and final) AlphaDogfight Trial will take place from August 18 to August 20. Multiple AI systems will compete against each other, demonstrating the latest in artificial intelligence technologies. A USAF fighter pilot will also put their experience to the test in a virtual dogfight with AI using an F-16 simulator in VR.

The event will be live-streamed the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins in Maryland, according to DARPA. A multi-view online format will be used on the ZoomGov webinar platform, one that will offer multiple 'channels' for checking out everything from commentary to talks with guests and experts, as well as the dogfight simulations.

This is in contrast to the first two trials that happened in late 2019 and early 2020, both of which took place in person. This latest trial will involve eight teams of experts flying their own AI algorithms against five enemy algorithms developed at the Applied Physics Laboratory. The second day of the event will include a round-robin tournament, followed by the singe-elimination finals on day three. The winning AI will then compete against the human fighter pilot.