AI chopper flies self, kills none

On Monday, computer scientists at Stanford demonstrated their AI helicopter, sending it flying around campus all on its own. Instead of reveling in its new found freedom, the ‘copter performed aerobatics that it learned from watching a radio-controlled helicopter flown by a human.

The AI system communicates with a ground-based computer that does the actual guiding. Each helicopter costs approximately $4,000 and is outfitted with an accelerometer, gyroscope and a magnetometer to determine its orientation and acceleration, and a GPS or two ground-based cameras to determine its location.

Potential uses for the helicopter include not only the obligatory military mission, (where it will certainly learn its taste for blood) but also for investigating wildfires or other surveillance and mapping applications.