Qualcomm wants to be the go-to chipmaker for drones

Qualcomm wants to be the go-to chipmaker for drones

Drones may still have some legal hurdles to fly over before they truly arrive, but as a consumer technology, they’ve shown remarkable progress. We’ve gone form bulky, difficult-to-control monstrosities to tiny Millennium Falcon replicas in the span of a few short years.

Now, with a little help from Qualcomm, they’re about to get even better. The chipmaker –- whose Snapdragon mobile processors power many of the world’s top smartphones –- has unveiled a new class of chip crafted specifically for drones, aptly called Snapdragon Flight.

For many drones, its control system can be a hodgepodge of off-the-shelf parts: a CPU for navigation, an image processor for whatever camera is onboard, and more silicon for things like GPS and wireless connectivity. But having multiple components do different things can tax power efficiency, not to mention make the drone physically larger (and thus harder to fly).

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Qualcomm wants to be the go-to chipmaker for drones.