DJI is at the forefront of the drone industry once again with its new Matrice 100 quadcopter. The Matrice 100 is designed specifically for developers to help test new sensors, processors and other tech as it’s optimized for use with DJI’s software development kit (SDK).
One of the features of the bare-bones Matrice 100 is Guidance, which uses multiple stereo and ultrasonic sensors that allows the drone to automatically avoid obstacles within 65 feet. Guidance can also stabilize the Matrice 100 with centimeter accuracy above the ground.
The Matrice 100 is always aware of its surroundings, and will automatically adjust its flight path when closing in on objects or obstructions.
PHOTOS: DJI Matrice 100 Drone
The Matrice 100 drone can fly for up to 20 minutes and carry a payload of about 2.2 pounds. However, it can be set up to fly with a second battery compartment that would double the flight time to 40 minutes, but the payload would be smaller.
The Matrice 100, like all DJI drones, can use the company’s Lightbridge video transmission system, which allows it to use any camera with HDMI or analog video output.
Again, the Matrice 100 and the Guidance system are aimed at serious developers, as they carry $3,299 and $999 price tags, respectively. Guidance is sold as a separate hardware addition that can be mounted to the Matrice 100.
The Matrice 100 features multiple communication ports, power supply leads, and expansion bays for mounting additional hardware, meaning you could fly the drone using a pair of Oculus virtual-reality goggles or gesture-control systems.
But as you can see in the video below, the Matrice 100 combined with DJI’s SDK and Guidance system can come in quite handy. Fudan University in Shanghai customized a Matrice 100 that spots illegally parked cars by recognize the orientation in which cars are parked. If it spots and illegally parked car, it takes a picture of the license plate and sends it to the police.
DJI also introduced an SDK for its Inspire 1 and Phantom 3 drones. The system is meant to allow developers to build applications for those devices.
Collision avoidance is key to the drone industry going forward. MIT recently tested a new system that combines simple control programs to enable fleets of drones to collaborate in unprecedented ways. If Amazon Prime Air or other drone delivery system are ever going to take off, avoidance technology will play a key role integrating these drones into the air.