Drones can generate a lot of data when in flight and, especially when collecting video, need a lot of on-board storage.
Seagate estimates a 25-minute flight could generate 120GB of data, and they company wants to create new type storage for drones to capture and protect the data.
The company is working with DJI Robotics on the new storage, and the partners hope to release the first joint product later this year.
Seagate declined to comment on what type of storage would be used in drones. Seagate specializes in PC and data center storage, but drones have unique storage needs, which is why the partnership with DJI makes sense.
DJI is famous for quadcopters like the upcoming Inspire 2, which has a PCI-Express slot for attaching a 480GB drive with a write speed of 4.2Gbps. But SSDs, while light, may hurt the limited battery life of drones in flight.
Beyond power efficiency, Seagate and DJI have many considerations to take into account as they develop the new storage.
One issue: Drones generate a lot of data via cameras, flight patterns, 3D mapping, and data collected in flight. The storage will need to be high capacity and fast. The drone may need to access 3D mapping on storage. A CompactFlash or SD card may not give drones enough space.
The storage will also have to be attached to the drone. A lot of data generated by devices is moving to the cloud, but uploading gigabytes of data from the drone into the cloud in real time is unrealistic.
The storage will also need to be rugged and secure. Drones could crash, and there’s a risk that someone may steal the stored data. The storage needs the ability to withstand the crash from high altitudes and also be waterproof in case a drone goes underwater.