On Monday, the current winner of the Game of Drones, DJI, announced two new hardware developments that could usher in the next phase of UAV technology – the Matrice 100 drone and Guidance sense and avoid system.
A direct compliment to DJI’s recently opened SDK, Matrice 100 (M100) is a quadcopter specifically designed for developers to test new hardware and software solutions for drones. The system includes all the hardware necessary to fly with minimal assembly time and no need for tuning or programming prior to take off.
With multiple communication ports, power supply leads, and expansion bays, peripheral hardware can be mounted to the drone which can access flight data and control mechanisms. The Matrice 100 can fly for 20 minutes with a 1kg (2.2 lbs) payload, but can be configured with an extra battery compartment to provide up to 40 minutes of flight time with a diminished payload capacity.
The Matrice 100 also incorporates DJI Lightbridge video transmission technology that was made popular by DJI’s Phantom drones. The Lightbridge/Matrice setup is best used with the compatible Inspire 1 Zenmuse X3 camera and gimbal, but will also work with any camera with HDMI or analogue video output. This makes it simpler than ever to stream live images to smart devices using DJI Pilot app from a variety of sensors, including near infrared and thermal.
“The M100 makes it easy to add processors, sensors and other equipment, opening the possibilities for how people use aerial technology in across industries,” Frank Wang, CEO and CTO of DJI said in the press release. “We’re excited to see how researchers and developers will use this platform to test how aerial technology can be used for agriculture, inspection, search and rescue and several other fields.”
DJI also announced today the Guidance system, the company’s first commercially-available, collision avoidance system for aerial platforms. Using an array of ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras mounted on the front, back, left, right, and bottom of the UAV, Guidance identifies when an aerial platform is close to objects at a range up to 20m (65 feet) and will prevent flying close to the objects at a configurable distance, as well as providing centimetre visual positioning stabilization above the ground.
The Matrice 100 and Guidance system are available now for pre-order at $3,299 and $999, respectively. They are scheduled to begin shipping by the end of June. Given the focus on research and development of these systems, a special discount will be offered to academic institutions.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com