An AI pilot defeated a human pilot in a clean sweep of virtual reality dogfights, with experts hailing the victory as a significant moment for artificial intelligence, sources reported.
The artificial intelligence algorithm, developed by Heron Systems and flying under the call sign “Falco,” beat a human F-16 pilot in simulated dogfights 5-0 in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s AlphaDogfight Trials on Aug. 20, Airforce Mag reported.
DARPA pitted several different AI programs against each other before letting the winner face off against the human pilot, call sign “Banger.”
Banger is a recent graduate of the Air Force Weapons School’s F-16 Weapons Instructor Course, with more than 2,000 hours in the F-16.
DARPA sought to demonstrate the “feasibility of developing effective, intelligent autonomous agents capable of defeating adversary aircraft in a dogfight.”
“We’ve gotten an opportunity to watch AI come of age [against] a very credible adversary in the human pilot,” said Col. Dan Javorsek, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. “The AlphaDogfight Trials is all about increasing trust in AI.”
“If the champion AI earns the respect of an F-16 pilot, we’ll have come one step closer to achieving effective human-machine teaming in air combat.”