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DJI invents a powerful Ubuntu computer for your drone

by Jacob Kleinman | November 5, 2015November 5, 2015 6:00 pm PDT

DJI is probably best known for its iconic Phantom drones, but the company’s lineup goes far beyond those consumer-facing gadgets. The firm offers some powerful technology to developers, and its latest product may be the most impressive yet.

The company recently revealed the Manifold, a powerful Ubuntu computer that can be mounted onto DJI’s Matrice 100 drone. The drone itself costs $3,299. The computer costs an extra $499.

The Manifold offers advanced image processing using NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 processor. It includes ports for USB, Ethernet, HDMI and more, and works with a variety of external sensors, monitors and peripheral devices. It even supports intelligent control, data analysis, artificial intelligence apps and deep learning.

“This means your aerial platforms will not only be able to sense the surrounding environment, but also identify objects and respond in an instant,” the company notes.

DJI’s new computer obviously isn’t for everyone. Like the Matrice 100, it’s meant for developers and researchers who want to push the limits of what drones are capable of. Manifold should make it possible to run even more complicated apps and software from the sky, and hopefully it won’t be long before that technology starts to trickle down to cheaper models as well.

DJI ArsTechnica

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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