Several top aerial drone companies joined electronics giants Intel and Qualcomm on Monday to back a new open source software project for running unmanned aerial drones.
The Dronecode Project, administered by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, aims to establish common technology for use across the industry. Drones are rapidly expanding beyond their military base for use in agriculture, filmmaking, environmental research and other fields.
In addition to Intel, Dronecode backers include SkyWard, a Portland startup developing management tools to help drone companies comply with flight rules and insurance standards.
"Commercial drone operators need reliable, effective technologies and infrastructure to support their work," said Jonathan Evans, SkyWard's chief executive officer, in a written statement." Open source projects serve to cultivate an ecosystem of collaborative intelligence at a global scale, and are the foundation for enabling the Aerial Robotics Network."
"For any new technology to become mainstream, it's important for the industry players to collaborate, said a written statement from Imad Sousou, an Intel vice president and general manager of the chipmaker's, Open Source Technology Center. "Open source contributions to the Dronecode Project can help accelerate innovation in a new market such as this."
Oregon and southern Washington are home to a cluster of drone companies and research efforts, including Boeing subsidiary Insitu and test ranges in central, eastern and coastal Oregon.
Dronecode backers announced the project Monday at the Embedded Linux Conference in Germany.
©2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)