Polytechnic University of Milan Wins Leonardo Drone Competition
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | Comments

The Polytechnic University of Milan won the first edition of the Leonardo Drone Contest: An Open Innovation Challenge, a competition launched by Leonardo in collaboration with six Italian universities to promote the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for unmanned systems.

The September 18 challenges were held in Turin where teams from six universities competed: the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Milan, the University of Bologna, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, the University of Rome and University of Naples.

The digital award ceremony was attended by the Italian Minister of Technological Innovation and Digitization Paola Pisano, Minister of University and Research Gaetano Manfredi, President of the Piedmont Region Alberto Cirio, Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo, and Leonardo Senior Vice President of Unmanned Systems Laurent Sissmann.

The team of winning doctoral student Gabriele Roggi aims to develop a drone equipped with autonomous driving and navigation capabilities. Under the supervision of Professor Marco Lovera, the team is developing systematic methods and tools for the design of on-board autonomous functions and a localization algorithm for motion planning and collision avoidance.

The first edition of the drone contest showed the potential for fruitful collaboration between industry and universities, implemented over months of work, commitment and the ingenuity of PhD students and their teams. The University of Bologna, with PhD student Lorenzo Gentilini and Professor Lorenzo Marconi received the Special Jury Prize.

The goal of the drone competition was to create synergies between development and academic research in the fields of AI, computer vision, sensor fusion and machine learning for the development of technologies for applied AI to unmanned systems and the birth of an ecosystem that involves large companies, universities, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), spin-offs, and startups.

The competition, officially started in June 2019, today closes the first of three scheduled contests. The final contest will end in 2022. Over the next two years, the doctoral students, supported by the professors and in collaboration with the university teams and Leonardo, will develop and propose more innovative capabilities applied to unmanned drone systems.

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