Qualcomm takes to the skies with 5G drone platform

Qualcomm takes to the skies with 5G drone platform

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Qualcomm has unveiled a drone platform that offers 5G and AI capabilities in a bid to boost the development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones.

The vendor says its Flight RB5 5G Platform will aid drone innovation, accelerating the next generation of high-performance, low-power drones, and help companies capitalise on the opportunities presented by the “intelligent edge”. It is also aimed at supporting fresh use cases in sectors including film and entertainment, security and emergency response, deliveries, defence, inspection and mapping.

The platform, which Qualcomm says will enable fully autonomous drones, includes enhanced camera-imaging functions, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and flying capabilities beyond visual line-of-sight to support safer operation (pictured from the promo video). In addition, it includes a secure processing unit to aid cybersecurity protection.

The vendor, which is carrying out network testing for the platform with Verizon, expects to offer it via the operator’s ThingSpace IoT marketplace. A development kit for the service is also expected to be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

“We have continued to engage many leading drone companies, enabling 200-plus global robotics and drone ecosystem members, in addition to consistently driving and promoting worldwide drone standardisation and transformative 5G capabilities,” said Dev Singh, senior director of business development and general manager of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm Technologies.

The platform, he said, is “purpose-built for drone development, with enhanced autonomy and intelligence features, bringing premium connected flight capabilities to industrial, enterprise and commercial segments”.

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