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New algorithm flies drones faster than human racing pilots


To be useful, drones need to be quick. Because of their limited battery life they must complete whatever task they have – searching for survivors on a disaster site, inspecting a building, delivering cargo – in the shortest possible time. And they may have to do it by going through a series of waypoints like windows, rooms, or specific locations to inspect, adopting the best trajectory and the right acceleration or deceleration at each segment. The best human drone pilots are very good at doing this and have so far always outperformed autonomous systems in drone racing. Now, a research group at the University of Zurich (UZH) has created an algorithm that can find the quickest trajectory to guide a quadrotor – a drone with four propellers – through a series of waypoints on a circuit.

The Spirit of the Inquisition Lives in Science - Issue 73: Play


I've been talking to Jerome Cardano for years now. What's more, he talks back to me--in a voice that often drips with gentle mockery. He clearly thinks my sanity is as precarious as his always was. Jerome was Europe's pre-eminent inventor, physician, astrologer, and mathematician in the 16th century. He created the first theory of probability, and discovered the square root of a negative number, something we now call the imaginary number and an essential part of our understanding of how the universe holds together. He invented the mechanical gimbal that was to make the printing press possible.

AI algorithm defeats human fighter pilot in simulated dogfight

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An artificial intelligence algorithm has defeated a human F-16 fighter pilot in a virtual dogfight simulation. The Aug. 20 event was the finale of the Pentagon research agency's AI air combat competition. The algorithm, developed by Heron Systems, easily defeated the fighter pilot in all five rounds that capped off a yearlong competition hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The competition, called the AlphaDogfight Trials, was part of DARPA's Air Combat Evolution program, which is exploring automation in air-to-air combat and looking to improve human trust in AI systems. "It's easy to go down the wrong path of thinking that that is either A) definitive in some way as to what the future of [basic fighter maneuvers will be]; or B) that it is a bad outcome," said Justin Mock of DARPA, a fighter pilot and commentator for the trials.

Artificial Intelligence Shoots Down EVRY Human Fighter Pilot


A pilot A.I. developed by a doctoral graduate from the University of Cincinnati has shown that it can not only beat other A.I.s, but also a professional fighter pilot with decades of experience. In a series of flight combat simulations, the A.I. successfully evaded retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Gene "Geno" Lee, and shot him down every time. In a statement, Lee called it "the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible A.I. I've seen to date." The fact that an AI downed a professional fighter pilot? Or the fact that the AI was developed by a graduate student?

This Huge Construction Project Is Surveyed By Drones- Without Human Pilots


Airobotics and Shapir-Ashtrom partners to survey the construction of Haifa's new seaport, "Gulf Port", intended to further develop Israel's coastline areas, and increase maritime traffic and international commerce. "We're proud to take part in the largest port construction project in Israel, and continue to reach more complex industrial environments," said Ran Krauss, CEO and co-founder at Airobotics. Airobotics automated drones have been used for the past eight months for surveying the construction progress, and surveying the area daily. The Airobotics automated drones do not require human pilots for operation, users are given accurate and rapid results, which streamline workflows, increase response times and data acquisition pace. Utilizing Airobotics' automated drones in this project proved to be an efficient choice, and I'm certain that this valuable tool is innovating the way we operate in construction sites," said Ofir Uzana, Senior Project Manager at Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering.