A few days back, Microsoft had something very interesting up on their blog- A post that highlighted the work of one of its A.I. research groups in building and testing autonomous gliders in the Nevada desert. Over the last couple of years, gliders have been very significant along with drones in the process of measuring weather patterns, monitoring agricultural crops or wildlife areas, or providing internet access to areas with sparse connectivity.
Perhaps you’re now wondering as to how, all of this is helping in the development of Autonomous Vehicles?
What makes Microsoft’s sailplane project so useful to all autonomous vehicle development is that it provides a relatively cheap platform for testing and training A.I. agents to independently operate a machine. Although the sailplane is just one specific type of vehicle, the algorithm that makes up the A.I. system is designed to physically navigate a machine around in three dimensions. There aren’t many factors that separate what an algorithm must do to correctly operate a glider versus a drone, or land vehicle like a car.