Intel Movidius Myriad 2 VPU Enables Advanced Computer Vision and Deep Learning Features in Ultra-Compact DJI Spark Drone

DJI Spark Drone
DJI’s Spark mini drone includes the Intel Movidius Myriad 2 vision processing unit, a unique processor used for accelerating machine vision tasks such as object detection, 3D mapping and contextual awareness through deep learning algorithms. (Credit: DJI)

Intel Movidius, a leading provider in low-power computer vision and embedded artificial intelligence, is providing visual intelligence technology to DJI’s recently announced Spark, the company’s first mini drone. The Intel Movidius Myriad 2 vision processing unit (VPU) is a unique processor used for accelerating machine vision tasks such as object detection, 3D mapping and contextual awareness through deep learning algorithms.

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Announced on May 24, Spark is the most compact drone in DJI’s product portfolio. Spark uses the Myriad 2 VPU for onboard computer vision processing and deep learning algorithms at high speed, making possible applications such as sense-and-avoid, optical tracking and gesture recognition. DJI has implemented the cutting-edge vision and deep learning algorithms enabled by Myriad 2 in order to provide advanced features including:

Face Aware: When placed on the palm of the hand, Spark recognizes the user’s face and knows when to take off, making the process of launching the drone seamless.

Gesture Mode: Wave your hands to catch Spark’s attention, move it with arm gestures, and let it know you’re ready for the perfect shot by making a frame with your fingers.

Safe Landing: Vision sensors placed on the underside detect and identify what is below to assist with a safe landing.

These new features, combined with DJI’s object avoidance algorithms, make it one of the most intelligent drones on the market.

“To reach the impressive level of miniaturization seen in Spark, DJI looked to Intel Movidius chips for an innovative solution that reduces the size and weight of the drone,” said Remi El-Ouazzane, vice president of New Technology Group and general manager of Movidius Group at Intel Corporation. “Our advanced Myriad 2 VPU combines processing of both traditional geometric vision algorithms and deep learning algorithms, meaning Spark not only has spatial awareness but contextual awareness as well.”

Movidius, an Intel company, has worked with DJI since 2015 to provide advanced vision processing in its drones. Thanks to its ultra-low-power architecture, Myriad 2 delivers crucial space and energy savings, so the Spark can handle the full-scale intelligent features enjoyed by other DJI drones, but within an ultra-compact form factor aimed at casual and new users.

“Spark packs amazing new computer vision and deep learning features into our most compact drone yet, in addition to intelligent flight and safety features that DJI owners already know and love,” said Paul Pan, DJI’s senior product manager. “The Myriad 2 VPU delivers computing power to manage our flight autonomy and contextual awareness systems simultaneously, helping us produce an ultra-compact, highly intelligent flying machine.”

Spark is available for pre-order now at DJI’s online store, four DJI Flagship Stores and authorized dealers for $ 499. Spark pre-orders will start shipping in mid-June. For details, view the DJI news release.

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