This Drone Avoids Obstacles When It Sees Them

If you thought drones could only fly and had to be manually guided around obstacles, the information you have is about five years old. Within the last few years, drones available to the average consumer have progressed by leaps and bounds. Most drones possess an onboard computer system that allows them to navigate autonomously. They can follow along with their owner or lead a path defined by GPS waypoints, capturing alluring aerial footages on the way.

Up until now, the drones that we came across were blind to their surroundings. They were able to capture photos, but if a ski lift or a big tree got in their path, the drones did not have the capability to change course to avoid it. With the First Guidance System from DJI, all that is now relegated to history.

The First Guidance System comes with a combination of stereo cameras and ultrasonic sensors. They allow the drone to detect objects as far away as 65 feet or 20 meters and take recourse to keeping itself at a preconfigured distance. This robust sense and avoid technology not only helps to integrate drones into everyday life, but also enables ambitious projects such as the Prime Air of Amazon.

Just as the robotic driverless car does, drones can now move about towns and cities, capturing new footages, delivering packages or even handing out parking tickets. According to DJI, research teams are using their guidance system for some unique applications. For example, Fudan University at Shanghai has created an aerial solution with Intel processors for aerial detection of illegally parked cars.

A new Matrice 100 drone from DJI powers the guidance system. DJI has made the system as a developer-friendly craft that users can modify for specific tasks across different industries, even acting as a testbed for experimental work. DJI is pushing this not only at the hardware manufacturers, but also as a platform for the entire drone industry.

On the drone, you will find additional expansion bays. These allow you to add components and customize the payload, allowing it to fly with any device of your choice. For example, you can put communication tools, computing boards, sensors, cameras and more into the sky. This allows you to complete your complex jobs from a birds-eye view, while the drone gathers data.

For example, using devices from DJI or third parties, you can connect and fly the drone and transmit data to ground in real time. With dual parallel CAN ports, the Matrice 100 connects DJI devices such as the Guidance sensor systems, while Dual parallel UART ports allow connecting third party components.

You can extend the flying time of your drone by up to 40 minutes with the help of an additional battery. The adjustable arm angle for each of the four arms allows greater yaw torque and response. The rigid, strong and lightweight carbon fiber frame of the Matrice 100 offers unmatched reliability and reduces stiffness. Soft vibration-absorbing material, lining the arms, eliminates nearly all feedback from the powerful motors. That keeps all critical components stable while allowing unparalleled accuracy.