Today Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has unveiled the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform, the world’s first drone platform and reference design to offer both 5G and AI capabilities. This new solution, which follows the success of Ingenuity Helicopter on Mars as a key breakthrough for unmanned flight powered by the Qualcomm Flight Platform, will help accelerate development for commercial, enterprise, and industrial 5G drones, and unleashes innovative possibilities for industries looking to adopt drone solutions and realise the benefits of the intelligent edge.
Next generation 5G drones
The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform is powered by the Qualcomm QRB5165 processor and builds upon Qualcomm Technologies’ latest IoT offerings, delivering a solution which will drive the next generation of high-performance, low-power, 5G drones.
“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), 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,” he continued.
Global 5G proliferation driver
Bringing cutting-edge capabilities to the drone industry by condensing multiple complex technologies into one tightly integrated drone system, the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform will support evolving applications and new use cases in sectors including film and entertainment, security and emergency response, delivery, defence, inspection, and mapping. Indeed, Qualcomm is a primary driver of global 5G technology proliferation and has acted as a catalyst and visionary in enabling 5G to scale and revolutionise the robotics and drone industry.
5G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
The Qualcomm Flight RB5 Platform boasts high-performance and heterogeneous computing at ultra-low power consumption provides power efficient inferencing at the edge for AI and Machine Learning, enabling fully autonomous drones. Meanwhile, breakthrough camera capabilities deliver premium image capabilities and performance.
This world’s first platform has 5G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and enhances critical flying abilities beyond visual line-of-sight 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.
5G network testing and availability
Qualcomm has announced it is working with Verizon to complete network testing of the Qualcomm Flight RB5 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 and is expected to be available in the last quarter of this year.
“Many of the anticipated benefits of drones will be further accelerated and strengthened with 5G, including delivery, inspections, and search and rescue, which will require a highly secure and reliable connection. We are excited to see Qualcomm Technologies continue to innovate with their latest announcement on a platform for 5G drones,” said Kevin Hetrick, vice-president, access construction and engineering, AT&T.