Microsoft Research today announced a new platform to help developers easily build autonomous and robotic systems. Their new Aerial Informatics and Robotics platform provide realistic simulation and tools for designers and developers to seamlessly generate the large amounts of training data they need. It makes use of the advancements in computation and graphics, incorporating physics and perception, to create accurate, real-world simulations. It helps developers in avoiding the time-consuming and risky test cases which need to be executed in the real-world. Also, collisions in a simulator cost virtually nothing and help us to gain a better understanding of methods implemented under various conditions.
For example, the tools could help researchers develop better perception abilities, which would help the robot learn to recognize elements of its environment and do things like differentiate between a real obstacle, like a door, and a false one, like a shadow. These perception abilities also would help the robot understand complex concepts like how far away a pedestrian is.
In addition to the simulation environment, the Aerial Informatics and Robotics Platform also includes a library of software that allows developers to quickly write code to control drones built on two of the most popular platforms: DJI and MavLink.