Qualcomm Unveils its First Computer Board for Drones

By Maddie Stone on at

Qualcomm, one of the world’s leading developers for smartphone chips, marched into the consumer drone market this week with a platform that could soon be steering a new generation of UAVs with bigger brains and smaller price tags.

This week, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon Flight, the very first Snapdragon system-on-a-chip (SoC) built for the skies. The compact computer board, which is based on the Snapdragon 801 processor found in many high-end Android phones, includes a quad-core 2.26 GHz processor, a digital signal processor for real-time flight control, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a Global Navigation Satellite System receiver and 4K video processing. The Snapdragon Flight will make its debut in a Chinese Yuneec drone that hits markets in 2016.

Demand for UAVs has skyrocketed over the past several years, but as Wired notes, most would-be customers today have to choose between an expensive, high-powered drone, or a cheap toy. If Qualcomm’s new SoC meets expectations, the tech company could position itself as the leader in a new market of compact, energy-efficient drones with powerful image processing and communications capabilities.

So if you’re already sick of shooing your neighbours drone out of your back garden, time to get used to it — this market’s only going to grow.

[Wired]

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