Home / Finance News / Just Like an Eagle, This Autonomous Glider Can Fly on Thermal Currents

Just Like an Eagle, This Autonomous Glider Can Fly on Thermal Currents


An eagle hovering would possibly glance majestic however in technical phrases, there may be some spectacular physics taking place “under the hood” once they do. Specifically, eagles and different hovering birds benefit from the upward currents of heat air, referred to as thermals, to lend a hand them extra simply sail in the course of the sky. What scientists don’t know, alternatively, is how those birds uncover and navigate stated thermals. It seems that synthetic intelligence can lend a hand — and it would be offering an lend a hand to drones as an added bonus.

“This is a big challenge, as it is very difficult to conduct controlled experiments with soaring birds,” Jerome Wong-Ng and Gautam Reddy, two researchers from the University of California, San Diego, wrote in an e mail to Digital Trends. “Our approach was to instead teach a learning agent to soar in a realistic environment and see if this tells us something about how birds soar.”

This educating used to be performed the usage of one of those system studying referred to as reinforcement studying. This form of A.I. creates A.I. brokers which be informed conduct founded on the result of trial and blunder experiments. In this situation, the researchers kitted out a glider with a flight controller in a position to put in force the reinforcement learning-based directions. Soaring to heights of virtually 2,300 toes, the glider used to be in a position to determine the right way to navigate atmospheric thermals autonomously.

“On a technical level, reinforcement learning hasn’t been applied to train agents to learn in the field,” the researchers endured. “In the field, the number of training samples we have is really low, and we have to come up with ways of using all available training data. There were also technical advancements regarding how to measure the local wind environment near the glider using onboard devices.”

In phrases of sensible programs, the researchers suppose their new navigational technique might be hired to broaden unmanned aerial automobiles (UAVs) in a position to fly for long periods of time without needing to recharge. In addition, it could be helpful for growing an autopilot-style “recommendation system” for newbie glider pilots.

“In this work, we focused on how to find and navigate a single thermal,” Wong-Ng and Reddy stated. “But migrating birds glide from one thermal to another, and how to do this efficiently is a line of work we plan to explore in the future. Another line of research is to track soaring birds and figure out if their navigational strategy is similar to the one we’ve found in our study.”

Along with the University of California, San Diego, different instructional establishments concerned on this analysis integrated the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

A paper describing the analysis used to be recently published in the journal Nature.





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