Drone technology makers typically deal with costly prototypes during development and testing usually ends with destroying many drones while the bugs are worked out. Microsoft has a better way with their Aerial Informatics and Robotics Platform simulator. This open source software allows developers to test their drones in a simulated real world environment. The software features photorealistic images with the normal obstacles you'd find in the real world like power lines, trees, buildings and more. Instead of testing real world prototypes and finding out a bug would cause a crash, developers can test over and over in the simulator saving possibly years of work and funding. It's the future of drone development.
Team lead Ashish Kapoor hints that this isn't a full replacement for real world testing, that will still need to happen, but the software can serve to complement it and provide hard to gather data points to speed up the development process. The software is much more sophisticated than traditional sims and it better represents the difficulties of navigating obstacles in a realistic way. The video we've seen makes the software look amazing with great textures, shadows and details that rival even the best looking high end video games.
The software currently supports DJI and MavLink drones, but devs can write their own code to control other platforms if needed. Microsoft does plan to add more tools in the future, but this early release is still pretty incredible for what it is capable of. Devs can have it generate random environments for their drones to be tested in and you can utilize sensors on the drone such as obstacle avoidance cameras, pressure sensors and more. The data this sim will provide will be invaluable for researchers and we can't wait to see how it grows as new updates are released. - Source: Microsoft
|Aerial Informatics and Robotics Platform (1 min 35 sec)|
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