Qualcomm launches first-ever 5G AI drone
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:

Qualcomm has announced the launch of what it claims is the world’s first autonomous drone platform with both 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform is a reference drone that contains computing at low power with AI, 5G and long-range Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.

According to the company, the drone and reference design contains “enhanced autonomy and intelligence features” powered by the Qualcomm QRB5165 processor.

Advanced connectivity in the form of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G allows flying abilities beyond the visual line-of-sight in a move which Qualcomm said would “support safer and more reliable flights over long distances”.

According to the company, the RB5 5G platform and reference design will support new drone use cases in sectors including film and entertainment, security and emergency response, delivery, defence, inspection, and mapping.


Dev Singh, general manager of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligence machines at Qualcomm, said: “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 standardisation and transformative 5G capabilities.

“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.”

Qualcomm is working with Verizon to complete network testing for the Verizon 5G platform in the US, with the 5G mmWave platform set to be offered through the Verizon Thingspace Marketplace.

Globally the reference design is available for presale now, with the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G drone development kit expected to be made available in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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