Chip manufacturer Qualcomm has launched a new drone platform that responds to the latest technological developments in the drone sector. To this end, the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform includes support for 5G and AI. According to Qualcomm, the platform can serve as a foundation for drones used for media production, inspections, security, mapping, and delivery.
Qualcomm launches new drone platform with 5G and AI support
Qualcomm’s new drone is powered by the company’s latest QRB5165 processor. This versatile system-on-a-chip (SoC) has been specially developed for robotics applications. In addition, to support 5G and WiFi 6 connectivity, the chip offers onboard AI and a digital signal processor (DSP) that can process 200-megapixel photos, and 8K or 4K HDR video. The SoC also contains a specialized computing unit (GPU) for complex onboard calculations.
The platform can be used by drone developers as a basis for newly developed advanced drones that offer a high degree of autonomy and/or be deployed out of sight of the pilot (BVLOS). The system supports up to 7 cameras around, allowing the drone to form a good image of the environment. And thanks to AI and machine learning, the platform can independently perform certain tasks, such as spotting anomalies during routine inspections or locating missing persons.
The new system is being marketed by Qualcomm spinoff ModalAI. The basic version of the system has a price tag of $4,000 (excluding the 5G modem). The company is currently accepting pre-orders for the system. The first systems are expected to be delivered in the last quarter of 2021.
According to ModalAI director, the new platform represents a major step forward when it comes to autonomy:
“Autonomous flights on the 5G network are now possible – giving drones much more options when it comes to inspection work. Better yet, the platform is open to everyone. Together, ModalAI and Qualcomm Technologies advance the adoption and commercialization of drone technology.”
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