“A simulated F-16 Viper fighter jet with an artificial intelligence-driven ‘pilot’ went undefeated in five rounds of mock air combat against an actual top Air Force fighter jockey today,” reports The Drive in an update to a story shared by Slashdot reader schwit1. From the report: The event was the culmination of an effort that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began last year as an adjacent project to the larger Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program, which is focused on exploring how artificial intelligence and machine learning may help automate various aspects of air-to-air combat. Heron Systems, a company with just 30 employees, had beaten out Aurora Flight Sciences, EpiSys Science, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Lockheed Martin, Perspecta Labs, PhysicsAI, and SoarTech to claim the top spot in the last of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) AlphaDogfight Trials. This three-day event had started on Aug. 18, 2020.
On the first day, all eight teams had spared against five different types of simulated adversaries that Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) had developed. This included one dubbed a “zombie,” with a flight profile similar to a cruise missile or a large drone, as well as ones that performed like fighter jets, such as the F-16 Viper, or heavy bombers, according to Air Force Magazine. On Aug. 19, the teams ‘flew’ against each other, whittling down the number of competitors to four finalists — Aurora Flight Sciences, Heron Systems, Lockheed Martin, and PhysicsAI — who moved on to the last phase. Those four remaining teams then battled each other in semi-finals earlier today.
Lockheed Martin beat Physics AI, while Heron Systems defeated Aurora Flight Sciences. Heron Systems pulled out a major upset over number two ranked Lockheed Martin before going on to face the actual human F-16 pilot, a Weapons School instructor pilot with the callsign Banger, in simulated combat. This tournament was the third and final trial in a series of events that started in November 2019. That initial trial involved teams flying simulated F-15 Eagle fighter jets, while the second one, which took place in January of this year, shifted to using the F-16 as the representative aircraft. The teams taking part in the competition this week again used digital representations of the Viper. It’s not entirely clear how the outcome of this tournament may now impact the larger Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program directly. DARPA has said in the past that it hopes the event will at least “energize and expand a base of AI developers” for ACE.
Some of my readers ask me what a “Serial Port” is. The answer is: I don’t know.
Is it some kind of wine you have with breakfast?