Drone dealer DJI has teamed up with Canonical, the company that pushes the Ubuntu-Linux, to create a drone-portable PC called Manifold.
Built with an ARM Cortex A-15 processor, a quad-core, and a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) based on Nvidia's Kepler architecture, the Manifold gives developers the opportunity to give drones some common sense and intuition. Basically, developers can create apps to give drones more autonomy while flying hundreds of feet over the heads of their operators.
The Kepler GPU gives software engineers the horsepower needed to create new artificial intelligence software such as deep learning and vision, according to DJI.
And the Manifold's ports — Ethernet, USB and HDMI — allow developers to attach a wide variety of sensors. They can use the ports to attach third-party sensors and devices such as surveying equipment, infrared cameras and atmospheric gauges, states DJI.
The Manifold is helping drive a new generation of drones that are smarter and more powerful, says DJI's Michael Perry, director of strategic partnerships.
"Manifold opens up for aerial and ground technology to intelligently work together to solve complex problems," Perry says. "We are excited to see what applications our developer community will come up with for this new platform."
The $500 Manifold, which runs on Ubuntu 14.04, is now available worldwide. DJI will begin fulfilling orders on Nov. 15.
"We are excited to be working with DJI, who like us, believe in pushing technology beyond the limits of possibilities and paving the way for creators, makers and developers," says Canonical's Mark Murphy, vice president of devices sales and global alliances.
Though drones are getting smarter, it appears the world is wising up. So there's this thing, which zaps drones out of the skies. And then there's the Federal Aviation Administration's task force that seeks more accountability on the part of drone operators.
The FAA wants the task force to draft rules that require operators to register their drones. The move has drawn the support of officials from several drone manufacturer, Brandon Declet, Measure CEO.
"Over 1 million drones will be sold over the holiday season and we need to ensure that everyone learns how to operate safely," says Declet. "The technology is clearly here and can be used to society's advantage; what the industry needs are reasonable regulations to ensure safe operations while respecting people's privacy."