Microsoft and DJI will co-develop solutions to allow Windows 10 devices to fly drones

Abhishek Baxi

At Build 2018, the company’s annual developer conference, Microsoft announced its partnership with DJI to bring advanced drone technology accessible to about 700 million Windows 10 customers globally.

The strategic partnership will enable Microsoft to bring advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to DJI drones, helping businesses harness the power of commercial drone technology and edge cloud computing.

Dà-Jiāng Innovations, or DJI, is the leading manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, for aerial imaging and accounts for 85% of the global consumer drone market.

DJI will be releasing a software development kit (SDK) for Windows that will extend the power of commercial drone technology to the enterprise developer community. The SDK will empower developers to build native Windows apps that will be able to remotely control DJI drones including autonomous flight and real-time data streaming.

DJI has also chosen Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud computing partner to take the advantage of Azure’s AI and machine learning capabilities to help turn vast quantities of aerial imagery and video data into actionable insights for businesses across the globe.

According to Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, the partnership will bring unparalleled intelligent cloud and Azure IoT capabilities to devices on the edge, creating the potential to change the game for multiple industries. Microsoft and DJI will also collaborate 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.

Under FarmBeats program, DJI and Microsoft are already working together to advance technology for precision farming. The drones 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. This data from aerial and ground sensors is aggregated and analyzed using AI models running on Azure IoT Edge enabling farmers to quickly identify crop stress and disease, pest infestation, or other issues that may reduce yield.

Roger Luo, DJI’s President looked forward to bring the power of DJI aerial platforms to the Microsoft developer ecosystem that will allow businesses to employ drones as well as AI and machine learning technologies to create intelligent flying robots helping make drone technology a mainstay in the workplace.

DJI’s SDK for Windows is available as a beta preview to attendees of the Build conference and will be broadly available in fall 2018.