CiThruS2: Open-Source Virtual Environment for Simulating Real-Time Drone Operations and Piloting

Emilian Galazka, Arttu Leppäaho, Jarno Vanne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Drone technology is gaining ground in many civilian, commercial, and military applications. However, the ever-increasing complexity of modern drones makes their conventional real-world testing impractical, so drone technology and service providers are turning to virtual simulation platforms for shorter times to market and lower development costs. This paper introduces the latest version of our See-Through Sight 2 (CiThruS2) open-source simulation framework that brings support for lifelike simulation of drone operations and piloting in real time. Our realistic virtual city twin comes with various zones, such as a city center, residential areas, bodies of water, and forests. This supplies the virtual drone flights with photorealistic aerial views of city life with a day and night cycle and various weather conditions. Our simulator reaches a 4K rendering speed of up to 60 frames per second on an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card. The high visual fidelity and real-time performance make CiThruS2 a suitable platform for many virtual use cases like vision-based remote piloting, environment perception, cargo delivery, Internet-of-Drones, and visual data collection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 IEEE International Automated Vehicle Validation Conference (IAVVC) Proceedings
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-3503-2253-8
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventIEEE International Automated Vehicle Validation Conference (IAVVC) - Austin, United States
Duration: 16 Oct 202318 Oct 2023


ConferenceIEEE International Automated Vehicle Validation Conference (IAVVC)
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • CiThruS2
  • open-source software
  • photorealism
  • real-time simulation
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Control and Optimization
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Instrumentation


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