The US Air Force (USAF) has achieved a first for artificial intelligence (AI), flying a military aircraft with an AI crewman alongside the pilot.
The US military has been working to transform its abilities, in an effort to meet new, high-tech threats. AI is one of the most obvious ways in which the military is looking to adopt new technology, with the promise of AI being able to handle tasks better than a human.
In the test flight, the USAF AI, known as ARTUµ, “was responsible for sensor employment and tactical navigation, while the pilot flew the aircraft and coordinated with the AI on sensor operation.” During a reconnoissance mission with a simulated missile strike, ARTUµ focused on finding enemy launchers while the pilot looked out for enemy aircraft. Just like a human piloting team, the pilot and ARTUµ shared the aircraft’s radar.
“We know that in order to fight and win in a future conflict with a peer adversary, we must have a decisive digital advantage,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. “AI will play a critical role in achieving that edge, so I’m incredibly proud of what the team accomplished. We must accelerate change and that only happens when our Airmen push the limits of what we thought was possible.”
ARTUµ represents a major step forward in AI development, and is one step closer toward the kind of AI sidekicks that have previously been the thing of science fiction.