The world’s largest drone manufacturer, Shenzhen-based DJI unveiled the USD 500 “Manifold”, a new embedded computer for its Matrice line of developer drones on Monday.
In a bid to push forward the development of the industry, DJI explains that the new Manifold computer will essentially function like a drone-mounted smartphone. Developers will be given more processing power and the option to add more sensors and chips to enable further applications for drones.
DJI envisions numerous possibilities for the new computer including “new artificial intelligence applications such as computer vision and deep learning”.
DJI is not the only firm eager to get into this space. Chip maker Intel has also formed partnerships with drone makers including DJI competitors Yuneec and 3D Robotics. Intel has long been established in increasingly less-relevant markets like desktops and laptops and recognizes the importance of investing in new mobile technology to help it get ahead in the near future.
Future applications for drones run the gamut from agricultural surveying, to wildlife monitoring, resource management and of course, as a much-hyped automated courier replacement.
If DJI’s “Project X” concept drone is anything to go by the future for DJI will most definitely include drones with autonomous or semi-autonomous flight and advanced image-processing abilities. Drones will be able to track subjects and process photos from afar, enabling them to identify individuals and objects, and provide farmers with the capability to assess the health of their crops remotely.
(Image credits: DJI)