Who will be flying the military aircraft of tomorrow? According to the Pentagon, it may partially fall in the hands of artificial intelligence (AI).
Reports say that both the US Navy and Air Force are planning next-generation fighters that don’t have just a human pilot.
Future fighter jets may have an AI co-pilot on board that can help with sensory data in addition to autonomously landing the plane on an aircraft carrier.
According to the US Naval Institute (USNI), artificial intelligence will feature prominently on the successors to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
The US Navy is working on the F/A-XX and the Air Force on the F-X, with both designed to replace their predecessors by 2030 at the earliest.
‘AI is going to be huge,’ a US Navy official told the USNI.
While the exact purpose of AI in aircraft isn’t known yet, it could have a number of uses from acting as a co-pilot to carrying out autonomous landings.
According to Popular Science the robotic co-pilots would be especially helpful for aircraft carriers, which are difficult to land on.
Recently the Navy’s X-47B experimental drone landed autonomously on an aircraft, demonstrating the usefulness of AI in such a situation.
AI could also help with something known as advanced sensor fusion.
This involves combining data from various sensors to get a more accurate reading of a situation or location.
The Navy and Air Force are also hoping to get help from industry experts in Silicon Valley to aid them in the design of such sixth-generation fighters.