This Tiny Humanoid Robot Can Fly a Plane

By Kate Knibbs on at

A humanoid robot could kick your arse at Flight Simulator... and probably at flying a real plane, too.

Researchers from KAIST in South Korea built this small, low-cost humanoid and gave it a little DIY Top Gun tutorial. You can buy this kind of robot (the Bioloid Premium) off-the-shelf, but it won't come fully equipped with piloting skills. The team modified the robot to receive visual input and information about GPS location, airspeed, roll, and other flight details to best operate the controls of an aeroplane. The results? That little toy-looking thing can take a plane from liftoff to landing.

While there's a simulation in the video above, this tiny robot can actually operate the controls of a real aeroplane, built to scale. The KAIST team is presenting that footage at an upcoming conference.

The robot would definitely suck at communicating with a co-pilot, but it undeniably knows its way around a cockpit. Would you feel comfortable getting on a plane helmed by non-humans? [IEEE Spectrum via CNET]