DJI and Microsoft have announced a new strategic partnership to bring forward a new software development kit (SDK) to Windows that will allow for full flight control of commercial drones.

Applications being written for Windows 10 will be able to be optimized for use with DJI's drones. Real-time data transfer and the use of AI and machine learning for image processing will help turn captured data into valuable business assets.

In addition, DJI has also chosen to use Microsoft's Azure cloud platform for storage and processing of photos and videos. "Together, we are bringing unparalleled intelligent cloud and Azure IoT capabilities to devices on the edge, creating the potential to change the game for multiple industries spanning agriculture, public safety, construction and more," says DJI executive vice president Scott Guthrie.

A native SDK for Windows enables developers to deploy Windows applications to DJI drones. One of the largest benefits to native Windows support is the ability to use already supported sensors, actuators and other robotic components without needing to invest in custom software.

Microsoft and DJI have already started working to improve Microsoft's FarmBeats agricultural project. Data is being collected from aerial and ground sensors and analyzed using artificial intelligence models running on the Azure IoT Edge platform. Real-time heat maps are now able to be generated with the help of DJI's drones to help produce higher crop yields.

Although DJI is the clearly dominant force in the drone industry, Intel is also aiming to take a sizable market share with its own AI software to process collected data. Despite the fact that there is still significant room for hardware improvements on drones, software is going to be the key to attracting the attention of business customers over the next several years.

The official DJI SDK for Windows is available today as a beta version. A final revision is set to launch this fall.