At Commercial UAV Expo 2022, Zephyr Drone Simulators was on hand to share its developments in this fast-growing field.
“We have a drone training simulation that is built from the ground up for large-scale and enterprise training, so we have a learning management system (LMS) that tracks all of your activities, including flight time, operations, crashes, violations and so forth,” said Kyle Bishop, the company’s CEO.
Beginning pilots will find solace in the fact that a “free flight” mode is available where crashes and other mishaps are still recorded, but do not otherwise impact the user’s overall performance or score.
“And even if you do crash in any of the other modules, you are able to repeat them and re-try, to make sure that you are growing your skills to not crash in the real world,” Bishop explained.
The program begins with basic maneuvers and flight operations, including introducing the specialized vocabulary that pilots use to describe what their aircraft are doing. From there, trainees graduate to simple versions of real-world missions, such as inspecting the roof of a house in an open field, or capturing photographs of a public park.
Beyond that, Zephyr has worked with its various clients to develop training scenarios that reflect their real-life applications for drones, such as tower and bridge inspection. A forthcoming update will introduce the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) open-lane test, which has been established as an industry certification standard.
The software also offers aircraft from a wide variety of manufacturers – to include industry leader DJI, of course, but also Autel Robotics, Skydio and even Yuneec.
“We even have a few models that go back further than that, like the 3DR Solo, if you really want to take a trip to the past,” said Bishop. “We try to continually add new models as they come out, especially ones that people are actively using in the commercial space. Each of those models flies like how they fly in the real world. We put a lot of effort into ensuring that the time you put in on simulator will translate directly into your real-world flying experience.”
Although the company is targeting primarily commercial organizations and educational institutions, a free trial of the software is available for download from the company’s website.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY PATRICK SHERMAN