Texas CSO Araceli & Ian

We went to the AIRR Drone Race Competition in Austin, Texas on December 6, 2019. Lockheed Martin and the Drone Racing League were wonderful hosts of an exciting VIP experience just for us Texas Chief Science Officers. We were able to get personal, interactive experiences with the drones, pilots and drone flight simulators. We met drone pilots such as Gabriel Kocher, Paul Nurkkala, and Alex Vanover. Alex Vanover is the youngest pilot in the Drone Racing League at the early age of 19!

The pilots were fun and taught us how to pilot mini drones. We also got to engage with a drone flight simulator, but it was interesting how it felt way different than flying the actual drone. After our hands-on experiences with drones and simulators, we were able to sit front row for the competition. The artificial intelligence-powered drones raced for the best time to complete the obstacle course and the winner received $1 million dollars as their grand prize from Lockheed Martin! The winner of the race had the chance to win an additional $250,000 if they could beat the human-piloted drone. Unfortunately, the human drone won, but it was still cool to see the two race against each other! We had lots of fun and we would love to do it again next year.

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