UPDATE: Now With Video And Cat Picture: Helicopters Teach Themselves To Fly, Hilarity Does Not Ensue, PEW PEW PEW Does

September 5, 2008


Mad scientists at Stanford have created helicopters that can teach themselves to fly difficult acrobatic maneuvers simply by watching another helicopter perform them. Start building that bunker.

The dazzling airshow is an important demonstration of "apprenticeship learning," in which robots learn by observing an expert, rather than by having software engineers peck away at their keyboards in an attempt to write instructions from scratch.

"I think the range of maneuvers they can do is by far the largest" in the autonomous helicopter field, said Eric Feron, a Georgia Tech aeronautics and astronautics professor who worked on autonomous helicopters while at MIT. "But what's more impressive is the technology that underlies this work. In a way, the machine teaches itself how to do this by watching an expert pilot fly. This is amazing."

Jesus, so all the robots need is one crazy asshole to teach them how to do something, and it's goodbye humanity. This is depressing. So, to cheer you back up, I'll tell you a funny story.

I'm working from home today and one of the cats (affectionately known as The Terrorist) won't leave me alone. He keeps trying to pull the keys off my keyboard while I type. So I lightly squeezed one of his back legs to see if it was big enough for a meal, and you know what the little Kitler did? He dribbled a little wet shit out his cookie cutter -- just to spite me. Then I had to chase the bastard around the house with a paper towel for five minutes trying to wipe it out of his fur before he sat on something. And that, dear reader, is my life. Happy lunch!

Hit the jump for a picture of the loveable little a-hole after I pawcuffed him.

UPDATE: Video added after the jump, thanks to Whitey, who's way paler than you are.


'Autonomous' Helicopters Teach Themselves To Fly [sciencedaily]

Thanks Amanda and Jack, either one of you looking to adopt a cat. Real cute, great personality, goes by The Terrorist.

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