DJI AirWorks 2020 Conference takes off

The year 2020 has been a challenging one for everybody, because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted people’s lives in a way that humanity never imagined before.

But the year has been particularly challenging for DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, who have been forced to spend much of 2020 fighting off allegations of how their drones are being used for espionage missions on behalf of China, especially in the USA, one of DJI’s largest markets. Many federal government departments have been ordered to ground their fleet of DJI drones, pending the resolution to this tiff.

The devastating combination of the Coronavirus and the geopolitical turf war between the USA and China, the birthplace of DJI, has forced the company to shed some of its 14,000-strong workforce worldwide, as the negative effects of clients scared of upsetting Washington begin to bite.

This has not stopped the company from forging ahead with great innovations though and yesterday, as it kicked off the 2020 edition of the AirWorks Conference – which had to go virtual this year because of the pandemic – DJI launched new sensor systems and data integrations for its professional drone platforms.

DJI Matrice 200

In news that is sure to be music to the ears of professionals in the Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), construction and related industries, the company said it was working on optimising its drones for integration into leading GIS and develop new sensors that would enable the creation of precise digital models that precisely represent the real world.

DJI said it is also updating its drone software and developer tools to make them more robust to able to support advanced flight operations and industry-specific applications. For instance, the company has been investing in Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology by making it so compact that it can be directly attached to either of DJi’s enterprise drones – the Matrice 200 or 300.

According to DJI, the 500gram sensor allows for the capturing of accurate 3D aerial mapping through “long-distance detection range up to 460 meters, high-density point clouds and supports up to three returns. By bringing this affordable and scalable lidar solution to the skies, use cases will extend well beyond the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry and open new ways for public safety professionals, utility inspectors, and more to digitize their operations with the power of drone and lidar technology.”

As part of the raft of improvements and new partnerships, DJI also announced that it was partnering with location intelligence giant ESRI, to leverage the integration of the latter’s Site Scan for ArcGIS software onto DJI’s family of survey drones to supply better solutions for urban planners, public safety and energy industry professionals.

Also to launch soon will be a new mission management platform, where drone will be able to deliver live footage in addition to an enhanced reality model for better coordination between field operators and command centres.

“COVID-19 has challenged drone innovators around the world to rapidly develop and scale new ways of working, and DJI is proud to showcase some of the best ideas demonstrating how the drone industry has responded to the pandemic and how we can chart a course to even more beneficial drone uses,” said Christina Zhang, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Communication at DJI.

“This year’s virtual conference format for AirWorks allows more drone industry partners to attend sessions, exchange ideas, hear from experts and find new inspiration for how drone technology is changing everything about work.”

Organised by DJI and attracting a delegation of drone users and hopefuls from a diverse set of industries that include agriculture, construction, energy, infrastructure and public safety, the AirWorks conference consists of plenary sessions, training workshops and industry specific sessions where attendees get the chance to learn about emerging trends and future developments from experts in the drone industry. industries for engaging presentations, workshops, training sessions and networking opportunities.

The AirWorks 2020 virtual conference is being attended by industry giants like Shell, Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue and FLIR Systems, who illustrated how drone technology has enabled people and businesses to be more resilient during the COVID-19 era, helping them to adapt to new requirements for social distancing while still taking care of critical services like inspections and deliveries.


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