Qualcomm Shows How Drones Will Become Smarter in 2016

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Monday, January 4, 2016
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Qualcomm Shows How Drones Will Become Smarter in 2016

by Camilla Pritchard

QUALCOMM, Inc.(NASDAQ:QCOM) plans to usher in a new era of drones, ones that will perfectly combine high performance with convenience. The company plans to achieve this feat through a tiny new 58 x 40cm circuit board, dubbed the Snapdragon Flight.

On January 3, the chipmaker released a video on its official YouTube page to give users a sneak peak at what the Flight drone platform will be featuring. And while the video does not provide much insight into the platform, it provides users with information as to what features will be incorporated, whilst also implying how they will enhance the device.

If the chipmaker succeeds in its latest initiative, it could quite possibly become a force to be reckoned with in the unmanned aerial vehicle space. It would essentially result in creation of autonomous drones that can easily navigate through the air, whilst also avoiding unexpected obstacles in their flight path. The 58 x 40cm circuit board will also feature support for Quick Charge and 4K videos, along with visual-inertial odometry, optical flow camera, motion planning and obstacle mapping. As a result, the repurposed chipsets will also enable the device to determine the safest flight path between two designated points.

Details regarding the Snapdragon Flight first surfaced in September. At the time, the company stated that the new circuit board would focus on real-time flight control and obstacle avoidance, through the incorporation of a Snapdragon 801 system-on-chip (SoC), along with Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation.

It can be observed that Qualcomm’s strategy to penetrate the drone market parallels that which it employed in the smartphone industry. The company’s chips have helped make the smartphones not only faster and efficient but also easier to use. The same can thus be assumed for the next generation of drones which incorporate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight circuit board.

It should, however, be noted that Qualcomm claims that the new venture will not only create an easy user interface for drones, but will also cut the cost by almost 50%.The Snapdragon 801is reported to be equipped with a quad-core 2.26GHz CPU, dedicated image and video processing hardware, inbuilt Adreno 330 graphics and Qualcomm Hexagon DSP.

More details will likely surface following the device’s showcase at the CES 2016 event in Las Vegas, scheduled for January 6-9, 2016.