Artificial intelligence for the first time replaced the co-pilot on a US Air Force plane

The flight was called an “important milestone” and “a huge leap in national defense in the digital age.”

Artificial intelligence replaced the co-pilot during the test flight of the high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft U-2 Dragon Lady. As noted in a statement released on Wednesday by the US Air Force, artificial intelligence was first used in this role onboard a US military aircraft.

The flight itself, which the Air Force called an “important milestone” and “a huge leap in national defense in the digital age,” was conducted on Tuesday. “On December 15, the US Air Force used artificial intelligence for the first time as a flight crew member on board a military aircraft,” the Air Force press service said in a statement.

The artificial intelligence algorithm, known as ARTUµ, was developed by US Air Force scientists. The statement notes that the artificial intelligence system was ” trained <…> to perform certain tasks in flight that would otherwise be performed by the [co -] pilot.” So, during the test flight, the ARTUµ algorithm was “responsible for the use of detection tools and the tactical navigation system.” The aircraft was “performing a reconnaissance mission during a simulated missile strike,” “the main responsibility of ARTUµ was to detect enemy launchers,” the document explained.

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