At the rate technology is advancing, we can teach machines to do almost anything. From programming drones to plant trees to manufacturing a robot that can detect water pollution, gadgets have become more capable than ever. But can we train a device to rely entirely on nature? Microsoft is teaching this motor-less plane to fly just like a bird.
The researchers have found that through a complex set of AI algorithms, they can get their 16 1/2-foot, 12 1/2-pound aircraft to soar much like a hawk would, by identifying things like air temperature and wind direction to locate thermals — invisible columns of air that rise due to heat.
The plane is one of the only AI systems to act based on predictions it makes. In a nutshell, it is is akin to a simple thinking being.
“Birds do this seamlessly, and all they’re doing is harnessing nature. And they do it with a peanut-sized brain,”
If successful, the planes could be implemented in farming and providing internet connections to remote areas. If cars can drive themselves, planes can follow in their tread marks.