Microsoft has launched a drone contingency simulator that could reduce real-life wipeouts of expensive hardware against obstacles like trees, telephone wires and perhaps even a medieval spear.
Drone technology has exploded onto the consumer marketplace in recent years, resulting in a number of legislation headaches, as well as real-world hits and misses.
According to the US Federal Aviation Authority, 670,000 private drones were registered in 2016 and the agency predict an astonishing 7 million copters to be sold in America by 2020.
With hordes of quadcopters potentially ready to fill the skies, a Microsoft platform is allowing drone operators to essentially train their aircraft to deal with obstacles without having to put their machine through the mill.
AirSim, an open source program, gives users the opportunity to fine tune their drone to handle flight hurdles like tree trunks, houses and wires with the help of a simulated world.
Programming a drone to carry out autonomous functions can be an arduous task, but AirSim is promising a way to lessen the heartache of seeing your program tests end in ruins.
Microsoft say the new program applies realism that “enables the study and execution of complex missions that might be time-consuming and/or risky in the real-world.”
“For example, collisions in a simulator cost virtually nothing, yet provide actionable information for improving the design,” the tech giant added in a statement.
With the number of plane nears misses in recent years, one wonders if the platform has accounted for passenger jets. A video runthrough of AirSim’s capabilities shows how the tool for “rapid prototyping, testing, and deployment” replicates what a drone user has tinkered in real life, onscreen.
Sadly, it might mean less drone fail videos in the future. It’s not clear if AirSim has the nous to expect the unexpected, like a Renaissance fair javelin thrower.