Qualcomm unveils 5G AI drone

Qualcomm has unveiled the world’s first drone with 5G and AI capabilities.

The reference drone operates on the chipmaker’s Flight RB5 5G platform, promising cutting-edge capabilities, high-performance, and ultra-low power consumption.

It boasts a Snapdragon 865-based QRB 5165 chip with a Kryo 585 CPU and Adreno 650 GPU, as well as a Hexagon Tensor Accelerator that provides enhanced AI capabilities.

This hardware supports 5G connectivity in the mmWave and sub-6GHz bands, and Wi-Fi 6 for applications such as drone-to-drone communications and drone swarms.

These are currently being used in several industries, including entertainment for aerial light displays, ecommerce deliveries, and military warfare.

Qualcomm’s platform supports the power-efficient use of AI and Machine Learning (ML) to enable fully autonomous drones.

For video and photography, the drone is equipped with a Qualcomm Spectra 480 Image Signal Processor that can take 200MP photos and record 8K video at 30fps, or 4K at 120fps with HDR.

The Flight RB5 5G platform also enables the drone with critical flying abilities beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) for safer and more reliable flight.

Qualcomm said that safety controls could no longer assure industrial and commercial drone safety, especially when scaling to BVLOS operations.

This is why the drone is equipped with a Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit to support modern demands with cybersecurity protections for keeping data secure and meeting safety requirements.

Qualcomm’s reference drone is available for pre-order at $4499.99 including the 5G modem (R66,495 excl. VAT and duties) and will be available in late Q3 2021. A deposit of $1,000 (R14,777) is required to reserve an order.

A development kit for the Flight RB5 5G platform is expected to be available in Q4 2021.

Below are the hardware specifications and other design details of the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G reference drone.

Now read: Vodacom and MTN 5G tested — impressive results

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Qualcomm unveils 5G AI drone