Microsoft has launched a platform to train the artificial intelligence (AI) systems of autonomous aircraft.
Project AirSim is, in effect, a flight simulator for drones, which companies can use to train and develop software controlling them.
It makes it possible for test flights in places that would be too risky in reality, such as near power lines.
And it means, Microsoft says, that millions of flights can be simulated in seconds.
For example, companies can virtually see how the vehicle flies in rain, or how strong winds might affect its battery life.
In a statement announcing the launch, Microsoft’s Gurdeep Pall said that it showed “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”.
The firm envisages the tech being used to train the AI systems which fly autonomous air vehicles from air taxis to delivery drones.