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Microsoft and DJI team up to make drones smarter for businesses

Partnership focuses on commercial drones instead of consumer

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

DJI says it's teaming up with Microsoft, which the drone maker says is a step towards "intelligent flying robots". 

The companies will build a software development kit (SDK) that will let Windows 10 devices control its drones. But before you get excited by the idea of using a Surface tablet with your Mavic Pro, this is announcement is aimed squarely at the enterprise.

Most people know DJI for cornering the consumer drone market, but they also make drones for commercial uses like aerial imaging -- and it’s this growing segment the companies are targeting. (Think public safety, construction and agriculture industries.)
In a statement, DJI said the tie-up would make drone technology accessible to the nearly 700 million Windows 10 customers globally. Of course, that’s a stretch given only a small proportion of Windows 10 users are enterprise developers -- but it still does open up huge opportunities.

The best drone for newcomers: DJI Mavic Air review

And the two companies didn’t stop with the SDK alliance.

DJI also said it has chosen Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud computing partner, letting businesses access Microsoft’s AI and machine learning capabilities to analyze and interpret large amounts of data.

One such application could be to help farmers more easily identify diseases in crops.

However, not everyone was as excited about Shenzhen-based DJI’s foray into commercial drones. Last year the US Army banned the use of DJI drones, citing security concerns.

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