What exactly is Percepto?
Percepto is a drone add-on. Meaning it’s a device (about the size of a deck of cards) and a small camera that you connect to your existing drone. Percepto enables new features you didn’t have before. It enables your drone to use the power of computer vision in real time. With computer vision drones can “see” and understand the environment better than with todays sensors.
What exactly can I do with it?
You can develop and use computer vision based applications for your drone. By using our drone control API and pre-accelerated computer vision primitives, you can focus on your application, and get results a lot faster.
For example, let’s say you want to control your drone using hand gestures. With Percepto, you already got the hardware ready, so you can either write your own code or use Percepto’s core hand recognition primitive, as well as our APIs to easily direct the drone’s movement. Now all you need to do is decide what the drone should do after each gesture, and write a simple code that describes just that. After connecting Percepto, you’ll have a hand gestured controlled drone.
I am not a developer, is Percepto for me too?
Absolutely. Developers will only be motivated to create new applications if users will be there to appreciate and enjoy them.
Also, we will ship Percepto with a few applications of our own, like: .
Our filming app (Name ideas are welcomed)
Using your smartphone, mark any object and have the drone follow it, circle it or create any filming maneuver you desire with a click of a button. Since Percepto works onboard and in high rates it is very responsive and can create filming maneuvers in higher speeds and smoothness than todays GPS based features. We are constantly working with professional aerial photographers to improve Percepto’s filming capabilities.There is also a mode where Percepto controls the gimbal alone, leaving the drone control in your hands.
OSD (On Screen Dispaly) app (Again name ideas are welcomed)
A customizable heads up display, driven by our computer vision algorithms which can produce smart alerts such as obstacle advisory, object searching or even locations of additional Percepto powered drones flying nearby (We use it like a radar when we drone “dogfight” ;).
Percepto will constantly update with applications developed by us, as well as applications developed by our community. So, if you’ll own a Percepto, you will be able to experience any new exciting application released.
Does Percepto include a flight controller?
No, it integrates with existing flight controllers like 3DR Pixhawk and DJI Naza. After considering safety issues, ease of development, processing resources and the commercial drones ecosystem benefits, we came to the conclusion that the computer vision unit should be set apart from the flight controller.
How do I physically connect it to my drone?
Percepto connects to your drone the same way a camera gimbal, an FPV transmitter or DJI Lightbridge connects to your drone. It needs power from the drone battery, and a connection to the drone’s flight controller. All cables will be included.
Which drones can I connect it to?
We’ve already tested Percepto with 3DR Pixhawk and DJI Naza controllers, so, every drone that uses one of these controllers is compatible, but basically, you can connect it to every drone that has a PPM input in its flight controller. Also, the drone can’t be too small, as it has to carry Percepto, which will weigh around 5 ounces (140 grams).
How is Percepto different from other development platforms?
Percepto is a state of the art processing platform tailored specifically for drones. The connectivity is designed for this specific use. The camera we’re shipping with Percepto is focused on frame rate and minimal distortion. Above all, our computer vision primitives are accelerated on Percepto’s CPU/GPU (NVIDIA Tegra K1) and our APIs make it easy to translate software decisions to drone flight maneuvers.
How will Percepto control the drone?
Depending on the application and the flight controller in use, Percepto can control the drone through PPM (just like an R/C receiver), or it can communicate with the flight controller through a digital connection (MAVLink, for example). Percepto can also be set to control only part of the control channels, leaving the others for manual control.
Percepto itself can be controlled either by your RC remote, or with your smart device through WiFi.
For some features, “follow me” for example, Percepto might fly the drone completely autonomously. In other cases, such as obstacle avoidance, Percepto might only intervene partly with the drones flight route or manual control.
Another option is to use Percepto for completely different tasks like augmented reality FPV or performance monitoring.
When will it be available?
We will start shipping Percepto to selected beta testers in July 2015. It will become publicly available by September.
How much will it cost?
We are now finalizing mass production costs with our different suppliers. This is why we have decided to launch our product in a crowdfunding campaign soon. I know it’s already became a cliche but it’s true, the more products we will have pre-booked and the more demand we will see for the product the lower we can make the cost.