Want to Create Your Own Drone App? DJI Has the Tools for You

DJI has rolled out a major expansion of its software ecosystem in an effort to allow developers to create new drone apps. The company announced the software advances on the first day of its inaugural DJI AirWorks conference in San Francisco this week.

By opening and simplifying the software that operates drones, DJI wants developers to build on each other’s accomplishments to develop custom solutions for their own businesses or broadly distribute solutions for entire industries.

DJI has introduced new features and improvements to both its mobile and onboard software development kit (SDK) offerings. New features include user interface libraries to speed up mobile app development and an onboard trajectory planning and control framework that lets developers execute complex missions.

The company has also introduced Ground Station Pro, a new flight app designed for planning and creating 2D and 3D maps, which can be integrated into third-party apps. It is now open for a public beta.

“We’ve created a library of new software building blocks for our onboard SDK, allowing developers to quickly and easily generate precise trajectories, capture LiDAR data, align and export point clouds, and halt trajectory control if an unexpected obstacle is detected,” says Darren Liccardo, DJI’s vice president of engineering, systems and applications. “With onboard SDK, developers can now build a solution that plans a complex smooth path, executes it while monitoring for possible conflicts, and processes raw LiDAR data to create a point cloud that can be imported directly into an industrial workflow.”

The addition of user interface libraries to the mobile SDK will allow app developers to significantly reduce their development time, says DJI. Common user interface elements will be provided that developers can reuse in their application either as is or with their own customizations.

“We want developers to focus their energy on pioneering new applications, not on duplicating efforts by creating another user interface,” adds Robert Schlub, DJI’s vice president of research and development. “This is an opportunity for DJI to make the process more efficient for everyone so developers can quickly prototype and deploy apps that integrate our platforms into their workflow.”

The AirWorks conference features presentations from global industry giants, as well as data and service start-ups, showing how the enterprise drone industry is coming of age on four major tracks: industry/inspection, public safety, agriculture and mapping/surveying. It also spotlights the work of AutoModality, which in August won DJI’s $100,000 SDK Challenge by developing an autonomous flight solution allowing a drone to launch from and land on a moving vehicle for disaster relief.


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