Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making remarkable strides in recent years, and it’s not just in games like chess that computers are proving to be better than humans.
According to a report from The South China Morning Post, Chinese military researchers have claimed that an AI-powered fighter pilot has defeated humans in a close-range dogfight for the first time, winning in just 90 seconds.
The study was published in the Chinese journal Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica and was led by Professor Huang Juntao of the Chinese army’s Aerodynamics Research and Development Center in Sichuan, China. “With superior calculation ability,” the researchers wrote, “the AI can more accurately predict the development of the battle to gain the initiative in the confrontation.” They added that “the era of air combat in which artificial intelligence will be the king is already on the horizon.”
The dogfight involved two small, unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft, one operated by an onboard AI pilot and the other remote-controlled by a human from the ground. While some challenges remain, the researchers claim that the airborne battle “proved the engineering feasibility of AI piloting technology.”
in addition, the study noted that “aircraft with autonomous decision-making capabilities can completely outperform humans in terms of reaction speed.”
One of the advantages of AI fighter pilots is that they don’t have to worry about things that affect human pilots, such as losing oxygen to the brain during quick turns or being afraid of death. This means they can make decisions more quickly and precisely than their human counterparts.
Although China is not the only country developing AI fighter pilots, this latest development, if confirmed, could represent a watershed moment for the technology. The US has been working on its version of the tech, with one AI developed by Heron Systems making headlines in 2020 for defeating a US Air Force pilot in a ground simulation.
As technology continues to advance, it’s clear that AI will play an increasingly important role in various industries, including aviation. As the saying goes, “the future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.”