Qualcomm is known for its smartphone chipsets, but it's branching out to other mobile device: drones.The company's next-gen development platform, Snapdragon Flight, is designed specifically for the growing drone market.
"We believe that robotics can be brought to a whole new level by using highly integrated and optimized heterogeneous mobile compute platforms," senior marketing manager Marienne Caro wrote in a blog post.
Flight integrates a Snapdragon 801 SoC (system on a chip), featuring a 2.26GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver.
It also promises support for real-time flight control systems, 4K video processing, and quick-charge technology—all packed into a processor no bigger than your palm.
"The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight brings together the technologies that have defined the mobile industry onto a single board, enabling OEMs to build drones that are lighter, smaller, easy to use, and affordable with long battery life and superior functionalities," Raj Talluri, senior vice president of product management, said in a statement.
First in line for the Snapdragon Flight platform will be an unmanned aerial vehicle from drone maker Yuneec, expected in 2016.
The program is available today for select manufacturers, and is expected to be integrated in commercial drones in the first half of next year. And while Qualcomm did not reveal any other partners, the company told Wired that it is "in talks with a number of OEMs looking at this space."
Qualcomm's Snapdragon Flight was announced at the Accelerating Robotics event, which also marked the culmination of a four-month mentorship program for 10 robotics start-ups. A Demo Day allowed each of the companies to pitch their ideas to investors and the media.