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General Atomics achieves AI flight milestone with Avenger UAV

14th April 2023 - 17:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Collaboration between human and AI pilots was carried out using GA-ASI's Collaborative Combat Aircraft ecosystem over a SATCOM data link. (Photo: GA-ASI)

General Atomics has used an MQ-20 Avenger to demonstrate collaboration between human and AI pilots over a low-Earth-orbit SATCOM data link.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has conducted a live tactical air combat manoeuvre using artificial intelligence (AI) pilots to control a company-owned MQ-20 Avenger UAS. 

Collaboration between human and AI pilots was carried out using a live, virtual, constructive Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) ecosystem over a low Earth orbit (LEO) SATCOM provider’s IP-based data link. 

The SATCOM connection was also used to retrain and redeploy AI pilots while the aircraft was airborne.

The trial used two L3Harris RASOR processors – one housing the transceiver card and another controlling a Ball Aerospace BLOS data link with active electronically scanned array.

GA-ASI's senior director of advanced programmes Michael Atwood said: 'It displayed effective BLOS command and Control through the collaboration between three defence primes. This showcases our rapidly maturing CCA mission system suite and moves us one step closer to providing this revolutionary capability to the warfighter.'

Operator commands were captured via hands on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls and sent via the SATCOM link to AI pilots running Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithms. 

The operators were provided updates from the AI pilots on a head-up display and could dynamically re-task via HOTAS. In addition, AI monitoring data was collected and sent to a ground station where the agents were retrained to improve performance, and then redeployed via the SATCOM link.

The Shephard News Team


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