DJI Launches Manifold, a PC for Drones

Drone maker DJI and Canonical want to help developersEU applications take flight. Literally. The companies announced today that they are releasing a computer embedded on a drone platform. The goal is to allow developers to transform drones into more intelligent, autonomous machines capable of performing complex computing tasks on their own, according to DJI.

The DJI Manifold, as the new system is called, runs on CanonicalEUs Ubuntu operating system and supports CUDA, OpenCV and ROS. The platform has been optimized for aerial image processing and parallel computing, sporting a quad-core ARM Cortex A-15 Processor and Nvidia Kepler-based GPU.

Ubuntu in the Sky, with DJI

EUWith 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,EU said Michael Perry, DJIEUs director of strategic partnerships, in a statement. EUWe are excited to see what applications our developer community will come up with for this new platform.EU

China-based DJI specializes in image applications for autonomous vehicles. Canonical said Ubuntu 14.04, the Long-Term Support version, will be available on the Manifold. The release will come with support for both multi-touch devices and HiDPI screens.

The Manifold uses and is specifically designed for DJIEUs Onboard SDK (software development kit), which will make it easier for developers already familiar with DJI SDK-based software to create more "powerful professional" apps. The SDK offers a user-friendly system that is still powerful enough to develop professional applications for aerial technology, according to DJI. The two companies are also highlighting the platformEUs flexibility and extensibility.

We reached out to Dan Kara, practice director, robotics at ABI Research to get his thoughts on the companies' announcement. "This yet another example of drone companies along with semiconductor and mobile telecommunications firms (Nvidia, Qualcomm, Intel...

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