A human pilot flew an experimental aircraft while wearing an augmented reality headset — and used it to dogfight a virtual opponent.

AR Fighter Jet

In a world's first, a jet pilot flying inside a real aircraft just fought an artificial intelligence-powered virtual fighter jet in real time, The Drive reports.

The goal is to reduce the costs involved in training fighter jet pilots in air combat, according to The Drive. Currently, adversary aircraft have to get into the air alongside the jet in training.

The pilot, veteran F-22 pilot Daniel Robinson, flying an experimental plane, was wearing an augmented reality headset with a mounted display to monitor his virtual opponent's moves. The AI-driven opponent was a virtual representation of a Chinese stealth fighter jet created by US-based autonomous technologies company EpiSci.

AI Bandit

"With this first-ever within-visual-range dogfight against an AI bandit, EpiSci’s Tactical AI demonstrated the ability to work on a real aircraft, with flight-ready hardware and sensors," Chris Gentile, EpiSci’s vice president for tactical autonomous systems, told The Drive.

The simulation piped into the pilot's augmented reality headset was created by air combat training system startup Red Six, which was founded by Robinson.

"Pilots of the future will need to be comfortable teaming with AI — and training is the ideal place to introduce this technology," Gentile said.

Alpha Dogfight

The event followed a program called Alpha Dogfight put on by the US Defense Advanced Sresearch Projects Agency (DARPA). The program saw human fighter pilots on the ground fight AI-driven opponents while wearing a virtual reality headset.

During the finale of the program, a fighter jet AI was even able to defeat a human fighter pilot.

READ MORE: Pilot In A Real Aircraft Just Fought An AI-Driven Virtual Enemy Jet For The First Time [The Drive]

More on Alpha Dogfight: AI Fighter Jet Obliterates Human Air Force Pilot in Simulated Dogfight

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