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DJI Matrice 100 and Guidance System

DJI Matrice 100

The DJI Matrice 100 is a quadcopter for developers. The drone allows developers to customize the flight platform using the DJI SDK. Plus, it comes in a big black box! Looky here:

Background

DJI is a world leader in easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems. As on-board electronics have become more sophisticated, a need has developed for developers to be able to build sophisticated aerial based applications for different markets. The DJI Matrice 100 is a quadcopter for developers which allows access to the inflight systems on the drone, as well as providing a platform for additional sensors, electronics and computers.

Platform

The DJI Matrice 100 is a fully programmable flight platform built around DJI cutting edge technology. Expansion bays allow addition of extra hardware to the flight platform, while SDKs allow access to on board flight information and sensors. The SDK also provides a communication channel over a direct serial connection to the DJI flight controller from other on board computers.

In addition, a system called DJI Guidance is available which provides a powerful vision sensing system. The Guidance system consists of 5 different sensor modules, with each sensor module containing ultrasonic sensors and cameras. A central processor fuses the sensor information into actionable information for the flight controller and other attached processors. The sensors high-precision stereo algorithms provide positioning information over nearly any terrain at altitudes up to 20 meters.

One of the big features of Guidance is that it continuously scans the environment and detects obstacles in real time. This information can be used to tell the flight system to automatically avoid collisions.

NVIDIA Tegra

DJI also supports a product called Manifold which is a NVIDIA Tegra K1 based computer. The Manifold runs Robot Operating System (ROS), which provides the Matrice 100 with standard ROS types of interfaces. In future articles, we’ll cover the Manifold in depth.

Development

Over the next couple of weeks we will build the platform and interface to the flight controller on board. Should be fun!