Drone pilot Ken Loo was brought in by the team at NASA to race against the artificial intelligence-powered drone. Loo averaged 11.1 seconds for the drone loop while the autonomous drone averaged 13.9 seconds.
But the course was tricky. "This is definitely the densest track I've ever flown," says Loo in a statement released by NASA. "One of my faults as a pilot is I get tired easily. When I get mentally fatigued, I start to get lost, even if I've flown the course 10 times."
Indeed, the AI drone was steadier, says NASA.
"We pitted our algorithms against a human, who flies a lot more by feel," says Rob Reid, the project's task manager, in the written statement. "You can actually see that the A.I. flies the drone smoothly around the course, whereas human pilots tend to accelerate aggressively, so their path is jerkier."