Report from the 2nd DJI Developer Challenge
We’re happy to announce that the second edition of the DJI DeveloperChallenge was successfully concluded on August 30th. Within the Top3 teams in the challenge, we find the winner UT-Dronefly from University of Texas at Dallas and Penn StateUniversity, the runner up The Star ofBUAA from BeiHang University, and CryosphereEcology from the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences of the Coldand Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, ChineseAcademy of Sciences. The winning team was awarded a prize of 100,000 RMB, andseveral of the students participating in the Developer Challenge were presentedwith offers to work at DJI.
The theme for this DJI Developer Challenge was “Change Lives, Changethe World”. The initial stage of the challenge was divided into two groups: onefor China and one for North America. Ten of the Chinese and three of theAmerican teams presented excellent projects and were invited to the final stageof the challenge, where they got to travel to DJI’s headquarters in Shenzhen todemonstrate their ideas.
1st Prize:UT-Dronefly — App for Power Line Inspection
Team UT-Dronefly demonstrated the app they had developed to makepower line inspection safer and more efficient. The app collects video shot bythe Phantom 3 and performs real-time detection and recognition using advanced imageprocessing algorithms. The pilot can then navigate the Phantom 3 based on theinformation, such as direction, position and clearance distance, displayed tothem in the app and easily conduct inspections. The app provides a simple,low-cost and easy-to-use alternative to existing inspection methods.
2nd Prize: TheStar of BUAA — App for Aerial Cruise Control
Team The Star of BUAA presented their app for cruise control fordrones. The app reads real-time image data and detects the position anddirection of the road below it, so that the aircraft can autonomously fly alongthe road. This way, it offers a precise and effective solution for trafficcontrol.
3rdPrize: Cryosphere Ecology — Aerial imaging system for the Tibetan Plateau
Team Cryosphere Ecology consists of three environmental researcherswhose project definitely caught our eye. The plateau pika found in the grasslands of the Tibetan Plateaus is asmall mammal with a reddish tan fur and a white underbelly. The pikas competewith the Tibetan farmers’ livestock for food and their burrowing degradescroplands, causing farmers a loss of income. Previous attempts to curb thepika’s impact on farmlands have been unsuccessful, however, with the mobileaerial imaging system designed by the team, it is possible to gather largequantities of information to perform research into how best to limit the damagecaused by the pikas.
In addition to the previous three prizes,two teams were also awarded with an Innovation Prize for their contributions tothis year’s challenge. The winning teams were Firmament from University of Michigan – Dearborn, and DroneITS from Nanjing University ofScience and Technology, Université Paris-Sud and Jiangsu University of Scienceand Technology.
Firmament— Ground Station App “Fire Scouter”
Team Firmament designed a powerful andeasy-to-use ground station app called Fire Scouter. This app helps firedepartments quickly respond to fire incidents by making it possible to pre-planflight routes and transmit real-time imaging from the UAV back to the groundstation, letting fire departments conduct a qualitative analysis of the scene,so as to improve decision-making for rescue missions.
DroneITS— Drone-based Intelligent Transportation System
Team DroneITS took advantage of the Phantom 3 camera’s large Fieldof View (FOV) and designed a Drone-based Intelligent Transportation System thatlets drivers see real-time road conditions on their mobile devices. To leverageexisting monitoring solutions, the team also developed a Ground-AerialVideo-merging system that adds functionality such as vehicle tracking andlicense plate recognition by using footage from CCTV cameras.
This year’s edition of the DJI Developer Challenge received five timesas many applications as the previous edition. The great interest in thechallenge delights us as the competition is our way to create an opportunityfor students who want to enter the UAV industry and learn to create their ownworld-changing solutions. We believe that we are at the first stages of a UAVrevolution – a tiny idea can grow incredible big and change the life ofmillions of people when combined with UAV technology.