DJI has announced something interesting for their Matrice test drone, it’s called Manifold and is a tiny computer that allows developers to turn drones into what DJI says are “truly intelligent flying robots that can perform complex computing tasks and advanced image processing.”
Yep, that’s right, highly intelligent flying robot drones that are probably smarter than the Average Joe, now that’s something we all want!
The Manifold, in its simplest form is something like an Arduino DIY board but one that’s been built specifically with drones in mind. It comes with a number of ports for DJI’s Matrice including USB, Ethernet, Mini-PCIe, HDMI, UART, SPI, and I2C, that’ll allow for a number of sensors and other things to be connected to the drone.
On board you’ll find an NVIDIA K1 processor with Kelper graphics. It also runs Ubuntu 14.04 LTS out of the box. It’s also pretty light, as you’d expect, at just 200g, though that’s without anything connected to the device. And because of the device’s OS, it means that it supports CUDA, OpenCV, ROS, DirectX, and OpenGL.
Though the idea of sentient robot drones is something out of science fiction and likely upcoming horror flicks, it may actually help with applications such as, security applications as using this hardware allow drones to “not only be able to sense the surrounding environment, but also identify objects and respond in an instant.”
It’s not exactly cheap however, as you’ll be required to shell out $499 for a Manifold, not including a Matrice test drone which will set you back around $3,299. The Manifold will ship out on November 15.