Simulation Technology for Unmanned Systems
Simulation technologies are used for a number of different applications within the drones and unmanned systems industry. One important use is the modelling of drone designs in order to understand their behaviour. UAV simulation software allows designers to make changes as required before making a physical prototype. This refining of design parameters and testing with real-world prototypes can form an iterative process that leads to the final production design of the system.
Simulation software allows drone designs to be tested in a virtual environment that may closely approximate the conditions that the unmanned aircraft would be expected to encounter in real life, down to parameters such as wind and other forms of extreme weather.
In addition to complete drone designs, simulation software may be used to model and test individual components. This testing may include the aerodynamics of propellers and flight surfaces on the UAV airframe. Simulation is also crucial for the testing of AI and computing capabilities onboard the drone, which may provide functions such as collision and obstacle avoidance or object classification.
Simulation technology is also used to create training facilities for drone pilots and payload operators. These UAV simulators may consist of fully immersive 3D environments that accurately model a wide variety of parameters. UAV pilots and operators can test their skills and train specific manoeuvres without risking damage to actual hardware. Drone simulation is used by military drone pilots, sport drone racers and commercial operators alike, and can be programmed to mimic a range of real-world scenarios such as battlefields or industrial use cases such as power line inspection. They may also take into account factors such as FAA and local flight regulations and restrictions.
Simulation can also be used for other unmanned vehicles. Modelling and simulated training environments are available for UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) as well as marine simulators for maritime systems such as AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) and USVs (unmanned surface vessels).