Alphabet’s Loon, the team responsible for beaming internet down to Earth from stratospheric helium balloons, has achieved a new milestone: its navigation system is no longer run by human-designed software.
Instead, the company’s internet balloons are steered around the globe by an artificial intelligence — in particular, a set of algorithms both written and executed by a deep reinforcement learning-based flight control system that is more efficient and adept than the older, human-made one. The system is now managing Loon’s fleet of balloons over Kenya, where Loon launched its first commercial internet service in July after testing its fleet in a series of disaster relief initiatives and other test environments for much of the last decade.
Loon’s internet balloons are now piloted by an AI flight control system
Similar to how researchers have achieved breakthrough AI advances in teaching computers to play sophisticated video games