Drone racing is the new thing, and NASA is down with the trend. Recently, NASA raced a Google-funded robot, that is handled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) against a drone piloted by a human. Would you like to guess who won? Well, (thank God) the human did!
Drone Pilot Ken Loo averaged 11.1 seconds for the drone loop while the autonomous drone averaged 13.9 seconds. However, apparently, despite taking longer, the autonomous drone was more consistent. The AI-powered drone used cameras to track it positions.
“This is definitely the densest track I’ve ever flown,” says Loo in a statement released by NASA. “One of my faults as a pilot is I get tired easily. When I get mentally fatigued, I start to get lost, even if I’ve flown the course 10 times.” Indeed, the AI drone was steadier, says NASA.
“We pitted our algorithms against a human, who flies a lot more by feel,” the project’s task manager Rob Reid told CNBC. “You can actually see that the AI flies the drone smoothly around the course, whereas human pilots tend to accelerate aggressively, so their path is jerkier.”
It is interesting to know that the robot drone was built by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Google paid for two years of autonomous drone research at NASA, and the race was the culmination of that.