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Qualcomm launches 5G, AI-enabled drone platform

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform accelerates and scales development for drone manufacturers to deliver powerful enterprise and industrial 5G drones

Qualcomm Technologies has unveiling a drone platform and reference design that offers both 5G and artificial intelligence capabilities.

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform is designed to accelerate development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones. Powered by the Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, it builds upon Qualcomm Technologies’ latest offerings for the internet of things, delivering a solution that will drive the next generation of high-performance, low-power, 5G drones, the company said.

As a primary driver of global 5G proliferation, Qualcomm Technologies has enabled 5G to scale for both the drone and robotics industries. The new 5G platform condenses multiple complex technologies into a tightly integrated drone system. Use cases include mapping, inspection, film and entertainment, defense, security and emergency response, and delivery.

Photo: Qualcomm

Photo: Qualcomm

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform’s high-performance and heterogeneous computing at ultra-low power consumption provides power efficient inferencing at the edge for AI and machine learning (ML), enabling fully autonomous drones, the company said. New camera capabilities deliver premium image capabilities and performance.

With 5G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, this platform enhances critical flying abilities beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) to support safer, more reliable flight. In addition, safety controls alone can no longer assure industrial and commercial drone safety, especially when scaling to Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations.

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform is equipped with a Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit to support modern drone demands for cybersecurity protections as a key enabler of data-protection and safety requirements.

Partners. Qualcomm Technologies is working with Verizon to complete network testing of the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform for the Verizon 5G network, and expects the platform, which is 5G mmWave capable, will be offered via the Verizon Thingspace Marketplace.

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G drone reference design is available now for pre-sale through ModalAI. A development kit is expected to be available this year in the fourth quarter.

“We have continued to engage many leading drone companies, enabling 200+ global robotics and drone ecosystem members in addition to consistently driving and promoting worldwide drone standardization and transformative 5G capabilities in organizations such as 3GPP, GSMA, the Global UTM Alliance, the Aerial Connectivity Joint Initiative (ACJA) and ASTM,” said Dev Singh, senior director, Qualcomm Technologies.

In addition, global carriers and IoT ecosystem who have validated or expressed support for the drone platform include Asia Pacific Telecom, AT&T, China Unicom,, FlightOps, Juganu, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, MITRE, ModalAI, Taiwan Mobile, TDK, Veea, Verizon Skyward and Zyter.

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