DJI‘s new Manifold embedded computer “enables developers to transform aerial platforms into truly intelligent flying robots that can perform complex computing tasks and advanced image processing literally on the fly,” states the DJI statement, released today. DJI has partnered with Canonical, the corporate entity behind Ubuntu Linux distribution, to develop a small onboard computer perfect for developing drone apps.
“We are excited to be working with DJI, who like us, believe in pushing technology beyond the limits of possibilities and paving the way for creators, makers and developers,” said Mark Murphy, Canonical’s VP, Devices Sales and Global Alliances.
The Manifold enables developers to connect a variety of devices including infrared cameras, atmospheric measurement devices and surveying equipment to the drone on which it runs. The Manifold computer both collects and analyses data while flying, giving developers access to immediate data.
The Manifold runs on the Ubuntu operating system and supports CUDA, OpenCV and ROS. It provides image processing, using a Quad-core ARM Cortex A-15 Processor and a NVIDIA Kepler-based GPU. A variety of ports enables the use of additional interfaces, sensors, or monitors.
While the Manifold will sell for about $500, it will run only on DJI’s Matrice 100, which retails at $3300. Still, at under $5000 it is an affordable investment for a small commercial enterprise.
“With the Manifold, we are entering a new era of smarter, faster and more powerful aerial platforms. Manifold opens up for aerial and ground technology to intelligently work together to solve complex problems,” said Michael Perry, DJI’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We are excited to see what applications our developer community will come up with for this new platform.”