Researchers Create Robot that Learns to Fly Airplanes

Posted by on September 24, 2014
Last Updated: June 3, 2015

We already have robots that can fly themselves, but researchers over at KAIST can do you one better: they’ve developed a robot that can learn to fly actual airplanes.

The robot, called PIBOT — that’s “pilot” and “robot” mashed together — was designed by a team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, and consists of a Bioloid Premium robot kit with a few choice modifications (bonus: a Bioloid Premium can be yours now for only $1,199).

Using a video camera attached to its tiny robot face, PIBOT’s software detects important visual things like runways and the sky, and has access to an array of buttons, switches, and sticks to control the (virtual) airplane itself. And, as a robot, it has a distinct advantage that humans don’t — all the plane’s vital information, including altitude and direction, are fed directly into PIBOT’s robot brain.

PIBOT’s only seen a flight simulator so far (and a model biplane), but I imagine the KAIST team hopes to move on to actual planes for real testing in the future. For now, check out the video above, and look forward to a time when your pilot isn’t named Ted, but rather RX-24. What could go wrong?

// via IEEE Spectrum


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About the Author Post by Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.

  • Brandon Ryan

    If you are on a plane when Skynet goes rogue, I will be praying for you lol

    • Rob

      I think we just solved the mystery of flight MH370!

  • luke

    am glad that the sky is an important visual thing

    • Rob

      I knew someone would appreciate that.

  • ” Oh sure. Fly a plane, have a couple of laughs they said. Would make life easier they said. ” – Unknown, Slave To Skynet Robot Army, 2027