Qualcomm dives into drones

September 21st, 2015
Qualcomm has introduced the Snapdragon Flight, an optimised circuit board targeted specifically for consumer drones and robotics applications.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and offers robust connectivity, advanced drone software and development tools, bringing cutting-edge mobile technologies to create a new class of consumer drones.

The Snapdragon 801 processor powers some of the world’s most popular smartphones and includes a 2.26GHz quad-core Krait CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, Hexagon DSP, dedicated video encode engine and dual image signal processors (ISP). Together, these support the development of advanced drone features such as obstacle avoidance and video stabilisation.

Yuneec, a leading developer of consumer and professional drones with a long history of innovation in electric aviation, will be one of the first companies to embrace the Snapdragon Flight. It plans to release a drone based on the platform in 2016.

“Until now, drones have been made from multiple component vendors providing separate solutions for photography, navigation and communications, adding to their cost and bulk,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies. “The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight brings together the technologies that have defined the mobile industry onto a single board, enabling OEMs to build drones that are lighter, smaller, easy to use and affordable, with long battery life and superior functionalities.”

The Snapdragon Flight features advanced processing power, real-time flight control on the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, built-in Qualcomm 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a leading global navigation satellite system (GNSS) optimised to support highly accurate location positioning. The Snapdragon Flight is designed to enable the advanced features that drone consumers want most, including:

•        4K Video – 4K high resolution camera support, image enhancement and video processing capabilities and simultaneous 720p encoding for first person view

•        Advanced Communication and Navigation – Dual-band 2×2 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 5 Hz GNSS location capabilities with advanced real-time flight control on Hexagon DSP

•        Robust Camera and Sensor Support – 4K stereo VGA, optic flow cameras, inertial measurement unit (IMU), barometer sensor support and ports for additional sensors

•        Quick Charge – Supporting fast battery charging in between video/picture sessions

“Drones are enabling a broad range of applications such as aerial photography, and sports filming, so the ability to shoot in 4K is a must-have feature,” said Talluri. “Qualcomm Technologies is already a leader in bringing 4K video capture to consumers, with over 500 device designs powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors with 4K UltraHD video capability. It’s natural for us to support the same technologies in the consumer drone space.”

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