China claims to have conducted an aerial clash in which an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operated by artificial intelligence (AI) outsmarted a drone operated by a human pilot on the ground.
The exercise was conducted by a team of Chinese researchers led by professor Huang Juntao from a People’s Liberation Army research institute.
During the aerial battle, the human-controlled UAV made the first move to gain an advantage over its AI-guided opponent.
However, the AI-controlled drone predicted the intention and managed to outmaneuver it by sticking close behind the human-controlled autonomous system.
When the human opponent lured the AI-operated drone to crash to the ground, it moved to an ambush position and waited.
The “dogfight” was reportedly called off after 90 seconds because the human-operated drone could not evade its AI-controlled opponent.
The researchers concluded that AI showed “superior performance” in cutting-edge close-range fighting.
‘King’ of Future Air Combat
According to the team, the result shows that AI’s potential role as the king of air combat is “on the horizon.”
They also claimed that aircraft with autonomous decision-making capabilities can completely outperform human reaction speed.
AI also reportedly ensures a safer operation for military pilots, especially when making sharp turns that could damage the brain due to excessive gravitational forces.
“Due to the advancement of stealth and electronic countermeasure technology, 25-40 percent of air combat will be carried out at close range in the future. Research on close-range combat has significant value in practice,” the researchers noted.
Earlier this month, Beijing also reportedly conducted a hypersonic air battle simulation showing an F-35-like fighter being neutralized by a Chinese hypersonic aircraft.