Microsoft Launches Metaverse-Based Drone Training Program

Microsoft has launched Project AirSim, a metaverse-based drone training program built on Microsoft Azure.
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Quick take:

  • Microsoft has launched Project AirSim, an end-to-end platform to accelerate autonomous flight.
  • Built on Microsoft Azure, the project will help to safely build, train and test autonomous aircraft through high-fidelity simulation.
  • AirSim is part of Microsoft’s industrial metaverse project.

Microsoft has launched Project AirSim, a platform built on Azure to help safely build, train and test autonomous aircraft through high-fidelity simulation. The metaverse-based drone training program is part of the company’s industrial metaverse project.

The company said AirSim is created particularly to train autonomous aircraft that inspect critically structures like wind turbines. It will enable companies to launch remote inspections “quickly and safely, without the time, expense and risk of sending a crew to remote locations,” Microsoft wrote in a statement.

The company is betting heavily on the metaverse potential, in the particular industrial metaverse. 

Microsoft’s industrial metaverse utilizes several technologies owned by the computing giant. The HoloLens project plays a crucial role by enabling users to interact with 3D objects in a virtual/augmented reality environment. 

On the other hand, Microsoft Azure helps users to interact with real-life objects remotely by controlling them from a virtual environment. The company teamed up with Kawasaki in May helping the US subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate to create robots via a virtual environment.

Commenting on AirSim, Balinder Malhi, engineering lead for Project AirSim said: “We created Project AirSim with the key capabilities we believe will help democratize and accelerate aerial autonomy – namely, the ability to accurately simulate the real world, capture and process massive amounts of data and encode autonomy without the need for deep expertise in AI.”

On the other hand, Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft corporate vice president for Business Incubations in Technology & Research, said AirSim could be adapted to several markets, including the last mile delivery of goods amid the rapid adoption of drone technology.

However, Pall warned that these systems must first be trained in a realistic, virtualized world. 

“Project AirSim is a critical tool that lets us bridge the world of bits and the world of atoms, and it shows the power of the industrial metaverse – the virtual worlds where businesses will build, test and hone solutions and then bring them into the real world,” Pall said.

Microsoft has also collaborated with Pennsylvania-based food processor company Kraft Heinz, which said it will use the industrial metaverse in Ketchup companies to make its supply chain more efficient.

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