DJI's Matrice 100 is more than just an aerial-photography platform.
Though DJI is best known for its flying cameras such as the Phantom line and , the Matrice 100 (M100) quadcopter is made for developers and researchers testing new aerial hardware and software solutions. With its stripped-down design, the M100 is ready to be built out to meet the needs for specific projects with multiple communication ports, power supply leads and expansion bays.
Also, using the company's Lightbridge video-transmission technology, it can stream live images to mobile devices from any camera with an HDMI or analog video output, such as an infrared or thermal camera. It will also work with the DJI Inspire 1 X3 4K-resolution camera and gimbal.
The M100 can be paired with DJI's Guidance system, which is the first commercially available aerial collision-avoidance platform, according to the company. Guidance uses ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras to determine its positioning and prevent the M100 from flying into objects. Guidance can used with other robotic systems with USB and UART connection ports as well.
Both the M100 and Guidance have software development kits (SDK) that give developers access to flight data and mobile app and onboard control of flight functions.
DJI also announced SDKs for the Inspire 1 and Phantom 3. These will give software developers the tools to create new ways of controlling quadcopters, for instance with a virtual-reality headset or using hand gestures.
"We're already seeing Oculus Rift integration," said Michael Perry, PR manager for DJI, "and also Leap Motion integration so developers can try experimental user interfaces."
The DJI Matrice and Guidance system are available for pre-order at $3,299 and $999, respectively. Specific pricing for the UK and Australia weren't announced, but the prices convert to £2,150 and £650 and AU$4,300 and AU$1,300. A discount is available for academic institutions. The pair are expected to ship at the end of the month.