Recently, drone racing has become an extraordinarily profitable business. But have you ever wondered who would win in a race between a robot drone and a world-class human pilot? On October 12, NASA tested this and recently announced what they discovered. They organized a race between a Google-funded robot drone and a world-class human drone pilot. The results were as expected: the human pilot won the race. However, it seems like the drone was actually more consistent than him.
Ken Loo was the pilot that NASA asked to take part in this unusual race. He went against a drone that was powered by artificial intelligence. On average, Loo took 11.1 seconds to complete the drone loop while the robot drone took about 13.9 seconds. However, in an official statement from NASA, Loo explained that it was one of the most difficult races he’s ever taken part in.
Human pilot versus drone
Loo also revealed that he has one problem as a pilot: he gets tired rather easily. So, when his mind begins to experience fatigue, he is starting to get lost in the course even if he knows it like the back of his hand. And according to NASA, the robot drone was indeed more consistent and steady than the human pilot.
According to the project’s task manager, Rob Reid, they wanted to see how their algorithms would do against a human pilot who usually flies more by feel. The artificial intelligence tends to fly the drone in a steadier manner and smoother. Meanwhile, the human tends to either accelerate or stop abruptly. This makes for a more unsteady path.
The drone was actually funded by Google, who also paid for two years of drone research at NASA. Their two years ended up with this interesting race which proved that an autonomous drone can indeed compete with a human pilot.
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