North Carolina A&T Students Place Second in National 2019 Swarm and Search Artificial Intelligence Challenge: Fire Hack Showdown Event

Dayton, Ohio– A team of Electrical Engineering students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, called AM2X, recently placed second nationally in the 2019 Swarm and Search Artificial Intelligence Challenge: Fire Hack Showdown Event. The challenge, which took place in Dayton, Ohio between March 29-31, tasked competitors to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to work quickly and efficiently during wildfire outbreaks to react to the dynamic changes of wildfire spreading to minimize damage and save lives.

Among the fifteen competitors, Team AM2X placed second in the overall competition and was awarded an additional $9,000 cash prize ($2,000 for Round 1, $1,000 for Round 3 and $6,000 for the Finale). The students competed against other universities, as well as private and governmental agencies. The second-place national finish highlights the role of the Autonomous Control and Information Technology (ACIT) Institute and the Testing, Evaluation, and Control of Heterogeneous Large-Scale Systems of Autonomous Vehicles (TECHLAV) center in the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T as a premier institute for excellence in UAS and autonomous research.

Dr. Homaifar, ACIT’s director and team leader of the challenge, pointed out that the team’s achievement is a testimonial to how the talent and guidance at NC A&T is abreast with the industry and other renowned research universities across the nation. He also attributed the success to the unwavering support of CoE and indicated how the innovative and cutting-edge research at his lab can be applied to disaster management, support of humanitarian relief activities, as well as defense applications.

The challenge tested students’ abilities to complete complex UAS missions. Because wildfires are fast spreading, dangerous, and unpredictable, the mission of the competition was to use artificial intelligence to map out real obstacles, such as lack of visibility, smoke, and heat.

Congratulations to team members (whose name creates the AM2X team name):

  • Abdollah Homaifar, Team Leader
  • Berat A. Erol, Team Member, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Mikol Forney, Team Member, MS Student
  • Mrinmoy Sarkar, Team Member, PhD Student
  • Xuyang Yan, Team Member, PhD Student
  • Mohammadreza Behniapour, Team Member, Lab manager

The College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University is committed to excellence in engineering and computer science. The College, through education and research, creates innovative and collaborative solutions that address the evolving societal and economic challenges of North Carolina, the nation and the world.