It’s a bird; it’s a plane; it’s a…drone?
This week, Qualcomm Technologies, one of the world’s largest developers for smartphone chips, announced a new platform that may begin a new generation of drones. The platform is called Snapdragon Flight and is the first Snapdragon system-on-a-chip (SoC) that is built to fly. The chip is set to make its debut in a Chinese Yuneec drone in 2016 for less than $300.
SoC is based on the Snapdragon 801 processor found in numerous Android phones. It includes a quadcore 2.26 GHz processor, a digital signal processor for real-time flight control, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Global Navigation Satellite System receiver and 4k video processing.
By putting all of these features on a single chip, Qualcomm reduced the overall size of the processing board. A smaller processing board means a smaller battery, which decreases the size of the drone’s motor and allows the drone as a whole to be built smaller and cheaper.
The demand for drones has greatly increased over the past several years. Unfortunately, most consumers have to choose between purchasing an expensive, high-powered drone or a cheap one that acts more as a toy.
Snapdragon flight will not only allow drones to be sold at a higher quality for a lower price, but will also be more marketable for consumers. Raj Talluri, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm, said that the most marketable feature of the new drone is its ‘selfie’ ability.
“People want to take pictures,” he said.
Talluri acknowledged that although the devices can be used for data gathering and crop dusting, just to name a couple of causes, most people want high-quality pictures of themselves and their activities. His idea for the drone is to act a GoPro and have the ability to fly and follow users.
In other robotics coverage here at Immortal News, San Francisco-based Vantage Robotics announced the launch of Snap, a new flying camera.