Science & Technology
DARPA reveals that it has enabled an AI to fly an F-16 fighter jet
By T.K. Randall
February 17, 2023 · 5 comments
Now even F-16s can fly themselves. Image Credit: US Air Force
The agency has seemingly succeeded in making it possible for an artificial intelligence to fly an F-16.
Robotic, autonomous aircraft such as drones have been around for years, but now scientists at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) have revealed that they have taken things one step further by creating an artificial intelligence capable of flying a plane that typically requires a human pilot.
According to a press release, the software was given full control of an F-16 fighter jet and actually conducted multiple test flights over the United States.
"In early December 2022, ACE algorithm developers uploaded their AI software into a specially modified F-16 test aircraft known as the X-62A or VISTA (Variable In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft), at the Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and flew multiple flights over several days," DARPA wrote.
"The flights demonstrated that AI agents can control a full-scale fighter jet and provided invaluable live-flight data."
But does this really mean that we could see AI-controlled planes going into battle ?
As things stand, probably not - instead, the AI will likely be used as an autopilot of sorts that will provide assistance to an actual human pilot during missions.
Even so, this development will likely raise some red flags with regard to the proliferation of potentially autonomous weapons platforms and the possibility that such systems could see combat in the future.
If an F-16 can fly itself, what about other vehicles such as tanks or submarines ?
Artificial intelligence on the battlefield, it seems, is a practical inevitability.
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