US Air Force refuels with robo-pilots

 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has built a software program which it claims can fly a plane during an inflight refuelling as well as a human pilot.

Autonomous Airborne Refueling software uses inertial, GPS and video data to manoeuvre the plane's refuelling pipes into a 32-in basket.

The software was 100 per cent successful, even in conditions which a human pilot would have found almost impossible. A human pilot was on board just in case.

Nasa test pilot Dick Ewers characterised some of the less mature versions of the AAR software as "flying like a second lieutenant". But he said that the final configuration demonstrated this year is "better than a skilled pilot".

"Skilled pilots can handle some tricky, last second movement the basket has a habit of making, but in so doing they set themselves up for a basket strike, ripping off the basket from the hose, or sometimes breaking the probe or parts of the airplane," he said.

The tests revealed some interesting results in the difference between computer and robot systems. When lining up with a refuelling pipe human pilots are instructed not to try and predict the pipe's movements.

But with the computational power of the plane's computers the software was taught to do just the opposite, and managed to hook up at over 250mph at 18,000 feet.

Copyright ©v3.co.uk


US Air Force refuels with robo-pilots
 
 
 
Top Stories
Westpac interim CIO resigns
Group CIO yet to be appointed.
 
Five emerging technologies that will transform financial services
[Blog post] Far out ideas that aren't far off.
 
Earning the right to innovate
Breaking down the barriers to innovation is a long, but rewarding process, says Bank of Queensland Group CIO, Julie Bale.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest Comments
Polls
What is delaying adoption of public cloud in your organisation?







   |   View results
Lock-in concerns
  27%
 
Application integration concerns
  3%
 
Security and compliance concerns
  28%
 
Unreliable network infrastructure
  9%
 
Data sovereignty concerns
  23%
 
Lack of stakeholder support
  3%
 
Protecting on-premise IT jobs
  5%
 
Difficulty transitioning CapEx budget into OpEx
  3%
TOTAL VOTES: 910

Vote