Microsoft is working on giving a sailplane flying instincts like a bird. The artificial-intelligence controlled flying machine can detect and hitch a ride on thermals, enabling it to circle and gain altitude without having to expend any energy. They’re testing the intelligent learning platform as much as the sailplane itself, examining its ability to learn how to avoid danger. It would need to internalize local airspace laws as well as avoiding more physical dangers like flying too close to the ground.
“These can be your cellular towers someday,” said Anish Kapoor, one of the principal researchers on the project, in Microsoft’s news release. “You don’t need any ground infrastructure.” There are of course a lot of similarities to Facebook’s solar-powered drone, and Microsoft is also looking into using solar or wind power to keep their glider aloft for longer periods of time. Source: www.pddnet.com