DJI, the first billion dollar drone company out there, is attempting to take the pilot out of the equation with their newest project, the Matrice 100. The guys at Buy the Best Drone tell us this one of DJI’s most advanced drones for sale. “Learning to fly an advanced level sUAS like the DJI s1000 or DJI Inspire is tricky,” they told us, “even good pilots crash.”
Luckily for developers and businesses looking to utilize the power of aerial photography the Matrice 100 has a fully automated flight process DJI is calling “Guidance.” The obstacle avoidance system integrates into the quadcopter and will help pilots avoid damage to the expensive machine.
Drones that avoid obstacles are nothing new. Drone-makers have been working hard to develop the technology for years. Last year at the Drones for Good competition, which bolstered an impressive $1 million prize, a team of Swiss technologists won with a quadcopter that can safely fly through confined spaces. The technology is definitely needed, as it’s currently too dangerous to fly through close quarters with a piece of equipment that costs over $1,000.
“Guidance” uses ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras to detect when the sUAS flies too close to any given object. The range is configurable and can reach up to 65 feet, an impressive distance. DJI claims that the sensors are accurate within one centimeter, another incredible statistic. The technology isn’t only for drones either, it can be attached to any robotic system with USB and UART ports.
The Matrice 100 is designed with power. The actual quadcopter can carry an extra payload and has the longest battery life of almost anything currently on the market. The battery at the lowest payload is 40 minutes. The DJI Phantom 3, recently released by DJI, has a maximum flight time of 25 minutes. The DJI M100 is looking even more impressive.
DJI has also made the Matrice 100 fully integrated with the DJI Pilot App – the same app that runs other quadcopters on the DJI platform. DJI uses a technology they call “Lightbridge” to stream HD videos directly to any Android or iOS app from the drone’s camera. If the app isn’t enough for pilots, the Matrice 100 connects to the Oculus Rift. As users turn their head while wearing the Oculus Rift, the camera gimbal rotates to reflect the movement of the wearer’s head. DJI also claims that the technology works with the Inspire One as well.
The Matrice 100 may very well be the future of drones, but at $3,299 it’s likely to only be the future for companies or individuals with a bit of extra budget. Frank Wang, the DJI CEO, said, “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.” The DJI Matrice 100 and Guidance will be sold separately and available at the end of the month.