The Era of AI-Powered Drones

By CIOReview | Monday, January 15, 2018

The arrival of drones proved to be a landmark development in the world of gadgets, for they could venture out into areas to monitor and capture the information that humans could not easily. Surveillance almost became synonymous with drones. However, these drones had to be operated manually, which necessitated people to monitor their control units and the data relayed by it. The realm of artificial intelligence (AI) has ushered in a new era by eliminated the need for humans in drone operation. The bulkier versions of an AI-powered drones—unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)—have lent a new dimension to warfare.

AI-controlled drones at their core have complex but relevant inbuilt algorithms, based on their intended usage. The latest advancements in AI demonstrated by the University of Cincinnati, point to ALPHA, a system that can actually take on a fighter pilot. As explained by Nicholas Ernest, a proud alumnus of the university and the founder of Psibernetix—the company that developed the system— ALPHA seeks to provide constructive advice in real time to pilots or even fly certain auxiliary unmanned aircrafts to planes being maneuvered by humans. ALPHA demonstrated its ability to react instantly and deal with any hurdle during combat in a manner, far superior to humans. The ‘fuzzy logic’-enabled algorithms allows ALPHA to initiate and implement strategies to take on the targets based on sensor data in milliseconds.

While AI-powered drones have certainly been a breakthrough, they are capable of inflicting large scale damage. For example, while improper use of ALPHA could wreak havoc, smaller drones could raise concerns about privacy. While science and technology can unleash a great deal of possibilities, they can be a boon or curse depending on the purpose they are used to serve.