Qualcomm Unleashes a New Era of Autonomous Drone Capabilities with World’s First 5G and AI-Enabled Drone Platform

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Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. continues its drone leadership by unveiling the world’s first drone platform and reference design to offer both 5G and AI-capabilities, the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform. This new solution helps accelerate development for commercial, enterprise, and industrial drones, and unleashes innovative possibilities for industries looking to adopt drone solutions and realize the benefits of the intelligent edge. The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform, powered by the Qualcomm® QRB5165 processor, builds upon Qualcomm Technologies’ latest IoT offerings, delivering a solution which will drive the next generation of high-performance, low-power, 5G drones.

As a primary driver of global 5G proliferation, Qualcomm Technologies has acted as a catalyst and visionary in enabling 5G to scale and revolutionize the robotics and drone industry. The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform brings cutting-edge capabilities to the drone industry by condensing multiple complex technologies into one tightly integrated drone system to support evolving applications and new use cases in sectors including film and entertainment, security and emergency response, delivery, defense, inspection, and mapping.

“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, business development and general manager of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are proud to continue our momentum of enabling the digital transformation of global industries by unveiling the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform, a solution that is purpose-built for drone development with enhanced autonomy and intelligence features, bringing premium connected flight capabilities to industrial, enterprise and commercial segments.”

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. Breakthrough 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.

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 for pre-sale now through ModalAI. The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G development kit is expected to be available in Q4 of 2021. For more information on the platform, including technical features, please visit the product details page here.

Asia Pacific Telecom

“As the leader in innovative telecom services in Taiwan, Asia Pacific Telecom Co., Ltd (APT) is excited to work with one of our most important strategic collaborators, Qualcomm Technologies on the support of 5G and AI-enabled drones. APT provides 5G and application integration services to advance the performance of robots and drones in different perspectives. We truly believe that 5G capabilities built into the platform will enable new autonomous drone experiences,” said Mr. Shang-Chen Kao, chief technology officer, network and technology center, Asia Pacific Telecom.