DJI, the renowned drone manufacturer, seems to have developed a web-based drone simulator aimed at enhancing your flying skills, especially when it comes to capturing precise shots. Although DJI has yet to make an official announcement about the simulator’s release, you can still give it a try by visiting and following the on-screen instructions. Please note that the simulator is currently available only in Chinese, so you might need assistance from Google Translate.

The drone simulation takes place in a futuristic cityscape with towering buildings, a setting that requires special permissions to navigate in reality. While the graphics may be slightly basic, the in-game physics closely resemble the experience of flying an actual DJI drone.

Additionally, the simulator incorporates realistic buzzing sounds that emulate the drones. You can maneuver the virtual drone by using a combination of four-letter keys, which mimic the controls of a drone controller, and the four cursor keys, which enable you to adjust the drone’s roll and pitch.

To initiate takeoff, you must hold the ‘S’, ‘D’, ‘left’, and ‘down’ cursor buttons simultaneously and then press the “W” key. Once airborne, you have the ability to capture photos and videos by pressing the ‘P’ and ‘L’ keys, respectively. Be cautious, as excessive enthusiasm can lead to crashes. Fortunately, the simulator provides an action replay of your incident before resetting your drone to its initial position.

The simulator offers three different perspectives for you to choose from. By default, you have a third-person view of the drone soaring through the sky. Pressing the ‘C’ key transports you into the drone itself, complete with a GPS map displayed in the corner. Another press of the ‘C’ button transitions you to a view depicting two hands gripping a controller, with a tablet serving as your viewfinder.

DJI’s drone simulator may still have some quirks, as we encountered frequent warnings about slow network connections, resulting in an unusable frame rate. This indicates that the simulator may not be ready for widespread release or intended as such. Nonetheless, it serves as an entertaining diversion for individuals seeking to refine their drone piloting skills. DJI’s simulator lacks a definitive objective beyond providing an open-world environment for practicing your flying abilities—an interesting coincidence considering the recent negative publicity surrounding drones.

In the UK, Gatwick airport faced disruption on Sunday, May 14, when flight operations were temporarily halted and redirected due to the alleged sighting of a “suspected drone” near the airfield. This incident follows a more significant disruption at Gatwick in 2018, during which the airport was closed for over a day due to multiple unverified reports of drone sightings. DJI’s drones, equipped with geo-restricted zones in their software, are unable to take off in proximity to airports. While the drone simulator is unrelated to real-world events, it proves to be a valuable tool for aspiring pilots to gain a sense of the physics and muscle memory necessary for flying drones in actual scenarios.

By Impact Lab