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Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon Flight Drone Platform

September 10, 2015 - Written By Debarshi Nayak

The rapidly expanding global drone market, along with its growing ecosystem is garnering a lot of attention among the major technology companies, with every other company trying to leverage the growth into a form of profit and development. With a similar thought in mind, Qualcomm has announced its participation in the emerging consumer drone market, by introducing Snapdragon Flight. Despite what the name suggests, Qualcomm is not about to sell drones, but instead, they are utilizing their mobile phone and chipset expertise to build an advanced reference platform that can be used to develop drones with high-performance capacities at a relatively lower cost.

Snapdragon Flight is a highly optimised board measuring 58 x 40 mm developed for drones and robotics applications. It is powered by Snapdragon 801, which brings about endless capabilities of development on this platform. They have also integrated high-end connectivity features and advanced drone software and development tools, making proper use of their expertise in this area. This helps integrate all technologies used in mobile phones for a long time, allowing open end manufacturers to build drones that are lightweight, more compact in size and simpler to use. This platform also promises new features and better battery management.

The new platform sports advanced processing capabilities, real-time flight control on Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, built-in Bluetooth connectivity, and a leading Global Satellite Navigation Service (GNSS) to provide highly accurate positioning services. A few of the features that stand out and would probably be the selling point for Qualcomm are that Snapdragon Flight supports 4K high resolution camera support, video processing stability, advanced communication and navigation with dual-band Wi-Fi support and 5 Hz GNSS location capabilities,  robust sensor support and proprietary Qualcomm Quick Charge Technology in between video/picture sessions. It also allows additional, downward-facing cameras and software that are used in the stability of the landing sequence of the drone.

One of the pioneers of 3G, 4G, and next-gen wireless technologies, Qualcomm officials frequently note that drones are cellphones flying in the sky. Snapdragon edge has helped OEMs a lot by integrating a lot of necessary components into a single chip that would have had to be procured separately. According to Snapdragon, Yuneec is about to be the first company to get their hands on the new platform. It is available to select OEMs. They are expected to launch by early 2016. Qualcomm’s senior VP Raj Talluri mentioned that drones and other projects involving Internet of Things were very useful opportunities for Qualcomm to showcase their devices and engage the company in new areas of technology.