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Guidance Review

Product Review

One of the biggest challenges of the drone industry is how to make drones less likely to crash into walls, trees or people’s faces. The controllers, apps and drones get smarter every day, but without a proper solutions they'll just crash into objects faster. The drones available to the average consumer have improved significantly. Onboard computer systems allow them to navigate freely through a path of GPS waypoints or capture spectacular aerial footage. But up until now, drones were blind to their surroundings. DJI's Guidance is the first obstacle avoidance commercial solution. The system consists of an array of five ultrasonic rangefinders (aiming left, right, forward, backward, and down), a set of integrated visual cameras running advanced computer vision algorithms and an onboard CPU to process all the data. Using the sensor together in real time, Guidance gives drones the ability to hover in place and maintain their position without GPS. Even when flying at high speeds, the high-precision stereo algorithms provide positioning information over any type of surface, allowing the drone to hover in the most accurate manner within centimeters and scan the immediate environment to detect/avoid obstacles, without any input from the pilot.

Hopefully, in the near future companies will integrate these systems as drones built-in components, making them much more difficult to destroy them into walls, trees and trucks. Meantime, the system works as an attachment on the Matrice 100 drone, which unlike the consumer-focused Phantom or Inspire series, is more of a developers drone. The avoidance technology is key for integrating drones into everyday life, enabling ambitious projects like Amazon's Prime Air. The project is supposed to allow drones to fly over towns and cities, delivering packages or capturing news footage. Research teams today are already using the guidance system for special applications, like Fudan University in Shanghai that uses Intel processors to detect illegally parked cars from the air. DJI's Guidance is a definitely revolutionary visual sensing system. Even when flying at high speeds, high-precision stereo algorithms provide positioning information over nearly any terrain and the Guidance’s vision positioning system is effective at altitudes of up to 65 feet (20 meters). The guidance system works with the Matrice 100 drone. It's a developer-friendly craft built to be modified for specific tasks across different industries, and to act as a testbed for experimental work.


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