Intelligent Agents for Interactive Simulation Environments
Interactive simulation environments constitute one of today's promising emerging technologies, with applications in areas such as education, manufacturing, entertainment, and training. These environments are also rich domains for building and investigating intelligent automated agents, with requirements for the integration of a variety of agent capabilities but without the costs and demands of low-level perceptual processing or robotic control. Our project is aimed at developing humanlike, intelligent agents that can interact with each other, as well as with humans, in such virtual environments. Our current target is intelligent automated pilots for battlefield-simulation environments. These dynamic, interactive, multiagent environments pose interesting challenges for research on specialized agent capabilities as well as on the integration of these capabilities in the development of "complete" pilot agents. We are addressing these challenges through development of a pilot agent, called TacAir-Soar, within the Soar architecture. This article provides an overview of this domain and project by analyzing the challenges that automated pilots face in battlefield simulations, describing how TacAir-Soar is successfully able to address many of them -- TacAir-Soar pilots have already successfully participated in constrained air-combat simulations against expert human pilots -- and discussing the issues involved in resolving the remaining research challenges.
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