DJI’s Drone Developer Platform and Object Avoidance System

Will companies build turnkey commercial drones and applications with it?

by Colin Snow, MBA | 2015-06-08 | Article ID: QT15-06 | Article Type: QuickTake


Today, DJI continued its push to compete with open source development platforms that see significant traction for researchers and new products. Announcing its developer platform quadcopter, called the Matrice, and its object avoidance system (OAS), which it calls Guidance, DJI added these products to its developer suite for new hardware and software applications. The Matrice lets developers create unique aerial hardware solutions, and Guidance combines ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras for avoiding collisions. Both systems are programmable for new applications via a software developer kit (SDK).

Previously, DJI announced an SDK for the Phantom 2 Vision+ and now has opened its very popular Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 aerial systems with new SDKs. Software firms like DroneDeploy and Pix4D have built usable commercial apps on the old SDK, and it remains to be seen what they will do with the new ones. It is pretty much a given they will adapt their products to the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1.

But the big question is whether companies will develop commercial drones on the Matrice and Guidance combination.  If they do, they will have to compete with fully developed / application-specific turnkey products like senseFly’s eXom.  That product was thoughtfully developed, is already in market, and has ready buyers. Additionally, DJI will need to deliver a more compelling vision for developers than this initial promotion video showcasing a big-brotheresque use case of identifying illegally parked cars.

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Colin Snow