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U.S. Air Force Successfully Tests AI-Controlled Jet Fighter

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The X-62A Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft, or VISTA.

The Air Force describes the X-62A as "a flight test accelerator." During its flights, a human pilot is on board to take over if needed.

Credit: Kyle Brasier/U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force said the X-62A VISTA (Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft) autonomous jet fighter has undergone 17 hours of flight testing.

VISTA completed 12 different flight tests of the Air Force Research Lab's Autonomous Air Combat Operations and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Air Combat Evolution (ACE) artificial intelligence agents.

This included advanced fighter maneuvers and beyond-visual-range engagements, with an on-board human pilot to take over as necessary.

Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Hefron of ACE said, "We didn't run into any major issues but did encounter some differences compared to simulation-based results, which is to be expected when transitioning from virtual to live. This highlights the importance of not only flight testing advanced autonomous capabilities but doing so on testbeds like VISTA, which allowed us to rapidly learn lessons and iterate at a much faster rate than with other air vehicles."

From Ars Technica
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