Military Embedded Systems

AI for pilot training aims to further human-machine teaming


November 01, 2021

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

DAYTON, Ohio. Mission-critical software provider Aptima has won a contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to build and develop a library of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled pilot agents that will match the AI with pilot trainees in scenarios that target the trainees' skill-building needs. 

Under the terms of the $5.2 million contract -- which also includes funding for the Gaming Research Integration and Learning Laboratory -- Aptima will manage seven leading developers of AI agents, who will create artificial enemy pilots that fly missions against human pilot trainees in an effort to improve the access and quality of simulation and training. 

Aptima chief scientist Jared Freeman says that this contract involves " ... human pilots and their adversaries -- who are in a sort of a dance together -- one trying to beat the other. And those adversaries are AI. So here we're on, I think, the edge of really the next generation of AI research, which is human teams interacting with AI. AI as advisors. AI as trainers. AI as adversaries who exercise these skills.”

The contract also calls for Aptima to oversee the development of AI agents by companies including CHI Systems, Charles River Analytics, Discovery Machines, Eduworks, Soar Technology, Stottler Henke Associates, and TiER1 Performance Solutions; create a cloud-based testbed that scales to enable many AI agents to generate flight data in parallel; and support the AFRL Gaming Research Integration for Learning Laboratory.