So it seems that DJI are expanding their customer base to now include more developers with the release of the new MATRICE 100 quadcopter which will be interesting to see how this is used. Currently the most popular drone development platform is the ardupilot/dronecode project supporting both fixed wing and multirotor platforms with the current flagship autopilot being the Pixhawk (and its variants). Once current major advantage of the pixhawk system is that both the hardware and software are fully open source but you can still use the dronekit SDK if you dont want to mess arround with the low level things, wheras DJI only provide an SDK. The SDK route is a great idea since it usualy stops you from coding something that will mess up the core flight control software. Either way I like to direction DJI are going with this and I am sure we will see some cool applications with the first set of sensors including automated obstacle sense and avoid. DJI’s first guidance system is a combination of ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras that allow the drone to detect objects up to 65 feet (20 meters) away and keep your aircraft at a preconfigured distance. There is also speculation that 3DR are working on Lidar integration on their Solo drone so heopfuly 3DR will also open that up to developers!
As with most DJI products the price is quite high, with the MATRICE 100 price set at £2799, with the guidance expansion guidance bay an extra £899. But one factor that makes the price seem more reasonable is the claim of up to 40 minutes flight time, something still reserved for the most expensive professional multi rotor drones! We will soon have them available in our shop so keep an eye out if you want to get your hands on a MATRICE 100 drone to do some cool development work!