ModalAI has released VOXL Flight, an out-of-the-box platform that integrates autonomy and beyond visual line of sight navigation and communications capabilities for drones. It’s also the first open-development platform for autonomous drone navigation that fuses a companion computer with a PX4 flight controller on a single printed circuit board, reducing weight and size, according to the company.
VOXL Flight integrates AI-enabled obstacle avoidance, GPS-denied flight capabilities, deep learning object recognition and depth sensing, and can support up to four image sensors for simultaneous 4k video capture, streaming and computer vision processing.
Developed and manufactured in California, VOXL Flight is also compliant with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 — which bars the military from purchasing unmanned aircraft systems and a number of other defense technologies that are designed or manufactured in foreign countries — as well as the pending Drone Origin Security Enhancement Act.
ModalAI, which spun out from Qualcomm in 2018, has been working with Uber Eats and the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Integration Pilot Program in San Diego to test its onboard detect-and-avoid, communications and AI technology.
VOXL Flight is a result of a contract the company was awarded in May 2019 by the Department of Defense Innovation Unit to design hardware architecture for Group 1 unmanned aerial systems to be used by the armed forces.