Representatives from DJI, the company that produces aerial drones capable of taking high-resolution photographs announced that they plan to launch a new prototype of drone. UBUNTU powered drones are coming to take over the skies and the project looks promising.
DJI wants to launch a new generation of smarter and more versatile UAVs. The prototype is named Manifold and it is basically a supercomputer with a propeller. Manifold, besides the components needed to keep the drone airborne, has also a small square box that contains a computer components.
The new prototype of UAV will be fitted with a Quad-core ARM cortex A-15 processor and an NVIDIA-Kepler GPU. Also, the producers packed into the little drone its very own operating system. It seems that UBUNTU 14.04 was used to power up the little circuit box. The processor will ensure that every program will run smoothly and the GPU is specifically designed so that the drone can capture high-quality pictures.
The onboard computer also comes with an incorporated 16GB hard drive and a 2 GB DDR3L RAM memory. In terms of connectivity, the drone will be equipped with 4 USB slots, a mini-USB slot and a non-standard USB 2.0 slot that you can use in order to directly interface with the drone.
Manifold also has networking features via the 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet network interface card. Users are capable of connecting a wide range of third-party accessories to the drone such as imagining sensors, infrared sensors and scientific instruments.
So, what can we use UBUNTU powered drones for? For example, biologists have used drones ,for some time now, in order to study wildlife. Drones have been employed to study whales whales and their offspring without disturbing them.
Basically, you can use a drone to access areas otherwise inaccessible by conventional means such as cliffs or mountain tops. And yes, smarter drones means that they could be used for military purposes. The number of applications of a drone are numerous and, as drones evolved, more and more tasks will be entrusted to them.
Michael Perry, the Director of Strategic Partnerships said, in a press conference, that Manifold is the first project of many others and that we are entering in a new era of smarter and versatile aerial platforms.
If used for peaceful purposes or transformed in a deadly new weapon, this remains to be seen.
DJI announced that starting on the 15th of November, Manifold is available for purchase in their online sore and it will cost $633.