The U.S. military is testing whether human pilots can trust robot wingmen during complex air combat maneuvering in an aircraft dogfight, Defense One reports.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program has been experimenting with a “loyal wingman” concept that envisions small robotic drones flying unmanned fighter jets alongside human-piloted fighter jets.
The Air Force in March successfully tested an unmanned jet-powered drone that can fly at supersonic speeds – the XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator – and said the air vehicle could potentially save the U.S. millions of dollars at a cost of $2 to $3 million per unit.
DARPA will host a Proposers Day on May 17 to provide additional information on the ACE program.
“ACE will apply existing artificial intelligence [AI] technologies to the dogfight problem in experiments of increasing realism,” the agency said in a news release. “In parallel, ACE will implement methods to measure, calibrate, increase, and predict human trust in combat autonomy performance. Finally, the programme will scale the tactical application of automating a dogfight to more complex, heterogeneous, multi-aircraft, operational level simulated scenarios informed by live data, laying the groundwork for future live, campaign-level experimentation.”
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