Alphabet’s Loon Has A New AI Flight Control System

We could wait eons for you to name one thing that has not been altered by the advent of artificial intelligence. Alphabet's Loon flight system is one of the latest high scale revolutions that has been transformed by AI.


We are in the era of bringing more and more people online. The team behind Alphabet’s Loon have taken the idea of providing internet to the next level. Instead of trying to extend the Internet from the ground, Loon takes to the sky via a network of balloons, traveling along the edge of space. The team behind Loon, recently 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.

Developed in cooperation with the Google AI team in Montreal, Loon said the new navigation system is capable of teaching itself how to navigate balloons better than the original balloon navigation system, which was built by human engineers over the last decade.


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