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DJI and Microsoft partner to bring drone technology to enterprises

DJI and Microsoft partner to bring drone technology to enterprises
Developer tools for Windows and Azure IoT Edge Services enable AI and machine learning for drones

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Aerial imaging technology firm DJI and Microsoft have partnered to bring advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to DJI drones, helping businesses use the power of commercial drone technology and edge cloud computing.

Through this partnership, DJI is releasing a software development kit (SDK) for Windows that extends the power of commercial drones. Using applications written for Windows 10 PCs, DJI drones can be customised for a variety of industrial uses with full flight control and real-time data transfer capabilities, making drone technology accessible to Windows 10 customers.

DJI has also selected Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud computing partner, taking advantage of Azure’s AI and machine learning capabilities to help turn aerial imagery and video data into actionable insights for thousands of businesses globally.

“As computing becomes ubiquitous, the intelligent edge is emerging as the next technology frontier,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft. “DJI is the leader in commercial drone technology, and Microsoft Azure is the preferred cloud for commercial businesses. Together, we are bringing unparalleled intelligent cloud and Azure internet of things (IoT) capabilities to devices on the edge, creating the potential to change the game for multiple industries spanning agriculture, public safety, construction and more.”

The SDK will allow the Windows developer community to integrate and control third-party payloads such as multispectral sensors and robotic components increasing the ways drones can be used in the enterprise.

“DJI is excited to form this unique partnership with Microsoft to bring the power of DJI aerial platforms to the Microsoft developer ecosystem,” said Roger Luo, president at DJI. “Using our new SDK, Windows developers will soon be able to employ drones, AI and machine learning technologies to create intelligent flying robots that will save businesses time and money and help make drone technology a mainstay in the workplace.”

Microsoft and DJI are also collaborating to develop commercial drone solutions using Azure IoT Edge and AI technologies for customers in key vertical segments such as agriculture, construction and public safety. Windows developers will be able to use DJI drones alongside Azure’s extensive cloud and IoT toolset to build AI solutions that are trained in the cloud and deployed down to drones in the field in real time, allowing businesses to quickly take advantage of learnings at one individual site and rapidly apply them across the organisation.

DJI and Microsoft are already working together to advance technology for precision farming with Microsoft’s FarmBeats solution, which aggregates and analyses data from aerial and ground sensors using AI models running on Azure IoT Edge. With DJI drones, the Microsoft FarmBeats solution can take advantage of advanced sensors to detect heat, light, moisture and more to provide unique visual insights into crops, animals and soil on the farm. Microsoft FarmBeats integrates DJI’s PC Ground Station Pro software and mapping algorithm to create real-time heatmaps on Azure IoT Edge, which enable farmers to quickly identify crop stress and disease, pest infestation, or other issues that may reduce yield.

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