New AI-Based Navigation Helps Loon’s Balloons Hover in Place

New AI-Based Navigation Helps Loon’s Balloons Hover in Place

Wired

Dec 2, 2020

High-flying balloons are bringing broadband connectivity to remote nations and post-disaster zones where cell towers have been knocked out. The helium-filled balloons, which float 65,000 feet up in the stratosphere, use artificial intelligence to predict wind speed and direction at various heights, then use that information to raise or lower the balloon accordingly. The idea behind using AI to control the balloon was to find a smart solution to the simple problem of keeping the device stationary over the people who need connectivity the most. The implications for this AI-assisted system are tremendous. High-tech stationary balloons like this could be used to monitor animal migrations, the effects of climate change, or illegal cross-border wildlife or human trafficking.

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