A computer program easily beat a top U.S. fighter pilot in five rounds of simulated F-16 flight combat during a competition intended to spur the development of artificial intelligence that helps pilots during aerial dogfights.
The A.I. program won all five rounds in under two minutes, showing the technology's promise.
The "AlphaDogFight Trials" were sponsored by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, more commonly known as DARPA, which is exploring the use of A.I. for a variety of military applications. DARPA played a key role in developing the Internet and has focused on encouraging A.I. in recent years.
In the simulated dogfight, the F-16 aircraft—one piloted by an Air Force officer who went by the name "Banger" and another by A.I.—exceeded speeds of 500 miles per hour and pulled 9 Gs as they twisted and turned through the virtual airspace. Each craft was armed with essentially a laser beam that simulated the use of machine guns.
The combat appeared on a video screen with small blips for each aircraft. The human pilot wore a virtual reality headset that gave him a view of the combat as if he were in the cockpit of a real plane.
More info in original Press Release