Expensive drones take flying lessons from cheaper stunt doubles

If a drone falls in the forest… LHJB Photography/Getty By Conor Gearin Some of the best lessons come from the school of hard knocks. But some kit is too delicate or expensive to be subjected to this. So researchers have instead taught cheap, expendable drones to pass on their hard-won knowledge to their more precious peers. Getting robots to learn and share general concepts in this way could also make them better at independent decision-making. Teaching an artificial intelligence to fly an expensive vehicle is risky, since it needs to know what both success and failure look like. “Let’s say you want to train it to fly a really big helicopter,” says Shreyansh Daftry at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. “You need it to crash a lot to…


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