One of the challenges when designing and manufacturing drones is to be able to avoid obstacles automatically. For example, electricity poles or trees. In order to facilitate the training of drones and similar autonomous robots, a team of researchers from Microsoft has launched an open-source simulation tool.
It is Aerial Informatics and Robotics Platform (AirSim), an application for Windows and Linux users that will allow us to generate virtual environments in which to test the operation of drones and robots. The idea is to make them learn to avoid obstacles in a virtual way, avoiding situations that could mean significant amounts of money for companies (in addition to a danger to citizens).
At this point it is important to emphasize that it is not a tool with which to replace the tests in real environments, but can greatly facilitate the tests in the early stages of development. Finally, one of the strengths of the program is that it has been designed to be able to take into account the depth of different elements, shadows and glare, aspects that happen daily in the real world.
Without doubt, it is a tool with which Microsoft will greatly facilitate the work of many companies focused on the manufacture of this type of products. If you have noticed, you can consult and download the source code of AirSim from GitHub.