Microsoft introduces a simulator for training drone AI.

FEEDHOUR FEATURE IMAGE A wind turbine is being inspected by a virtual drone.

Microsoft has built an artificial intelligence (AI) training platform for drone.

When it comes to training and developing software to control drones, Project AirSim is essentially a flight simulator.

For example, a test flight near a power line is now possible, although it would be too dangerous in the actual world.

Microsoft claims that millions of flights can be simulated in a matter of seconds thanks to this technology.

Companies may, for example, see how the car flies in the rain or how strong winds might affect its battery life using virtual simulations.

“The power of the industrial metaverse – the virtual worlds where businesses will design, test and hone ideas, and then bring them into the real world,” Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft’s senior vice president, said in a statement.

The company envisions using the technology to train AI systems to operate self-driving aircraft, such as air taxis and delivery drones.

Turning 40-year-old

Software giant Microsoft has a long history in virtual aviation; their Flight Simulator game will mark its 40th anniversary in November of this year.

The simulated flight of a drone near a phone mast above Seattle

AirSim has a more recent history as an open-source project used by several researchers to develop the technology.

Microsoft has cancelled that project.

The old open-source project’s code will remain available to users, but it will be archived so that the company can devote its resources to the new product.

As the company explains, the new proprietary platform comes equipped with more functionality and requires less technical expertise.

It is anticipated that more information will be available when the general release date draws nearer.

Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, powers the application.

An American company, Airtonomy, was granted early access to the platform. ‘

Drones from Airtonomy are used to inspect wind farms and electricity lines.

“A crew of three guys rappelled down those blades—the towers are at the height of 80m (262 feet), so not only was it an almost day-long job for three individuals, but safety is certainly a consideration,” Riedy said in a statement.

A single person on the ground may now control all the drones simultaneously. To fly a drone, “they merely need to know how to put batteries in a drone, and press a button,” he stated.

Using the virtual environment of Project AirSim, the flight routines that enable this are built. Mr Riedy believes a key advantage is that the “simulated environment lets us make mistakes” when dealing with essential infrastructure.

Another advantage is the ability to simulate “what if” circumstances that would be dangerous to test in real life, such as a drone’s eyesight being clouded.

As a result, Microsoft believes that civil aviation regulators will be able to use it to evaluate systems, such as how the drone functions in extremely heavy weather or handles a loss of positional data.

Four simulated drones fly through forest settings in AirSim

Developers would have to use pre-trained AI “building blocks” in addition to libraries of digital settings, which the company hopes will reduce the skill needed to design systems.

Open-source AirSim inventor Ashish Kapoor expressed his hope that data gathered on the new platform would put “many more vehicles in the skies, helping to monitor farms, examine important infrastructure and transport commodities and people to the remotest of regions” in a statement.

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