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Microsoft launches AI platform to test autonomous flight

by Marco van der Hoeven

At the Farnborough International Airshow Microsoft has announced Project AirSim, a platform running on Microsoft Azure to build, train and test autonomous aircraft through high-fidelity simulation. In realistic environments, AI models can run through millions of flights in seconds, learning how to react to countless variables much like they would in the physical world.

Project AirSim uses the Azure cloud to generate massive amounts of data for training AI models on exactly which actions to take at each phase of flight, from takeoff to cruising to landing. It will also offer libraries of simulated 3D environments representing diverse urban and rural landscapes as well as a suite of sophisticated pretrained AI models to help accelerate autonomy in aerial infrastructure inspection, last-mile delivery and urban air mobility.

“It arrives as advances in AI, computing and sensor technology are beginning to transform how we move people and goods”, said Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft corporate vice president for Business Incubations in Technology & Research. “And this isn’t just happening in remote areas home to wind farms; with urban density on the rise, gridlocked roads and highways simply can’t cut it as the quickest way to get from Point A to Point B. Instead, businesses will look to the skies and autonomous aircraft.”

Project AirSim is available now in limited preview here.



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