Glimpse of what Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight board will enable next year

Qualcomm, a 3DR investor, has released a sneak peek of what it will be showing at CES next week. 3DR will be also displaying in the Qualcomm booth. Draw your own conclusions ;-)

From the Verge: "We believe that, with this chip, we can cut the price of the average 4K camera drone from $1,200 down to $300 or $400," Qualcomm's Raj Talluri told The Verge in October. "And we think we can extend the battery life from 20 minutes to 45 to 60 minutes. That will open them up to a much broader audience and a whole new range of applications."

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Comment by Gary McCray on December 31, 2015 at 2:57pm

Sounds very Optimistic, I hope so.

In any case I would be very happy to pay twice that much for the capabilities they are promoting in their video.

2016 should be another very interesting year (at least as long as the FAA, the Press, the politicians and the general public don't go off the deep end) - we will see.

Comment by Muscate on December 31, 2015 at 3:04pm

Its nice and all but the phone 4k sensors and lens are not even close to the ones in the DJI products or the GoPros.

Sure, it'll have the 4K mark, but not the quality you'd expect - yet at least (it'll come of course, when phone's 4K video will be good enough, and potentially if they make the sensor and lens slightly bigger)

additionally, they flight time gain, which is certainly not going to be from 20 to 60min for the same size of drone and battery as a - say Phantom 3 (seems to be the reference). the gain are from not having a gimbal (use micro OIS and/or digital stabilitzation) mainly, thus less weight and less motor energy used.

The boards themselves arent all that much better than the DM365-familly of things used in the Phantom3 energy wise, and most of the energy is spent on the motors anyway.

So yeah that's a little bit of sensationalist lies (as per usual from such sites).

That being said - I for one can't wait for a better qualcomm based board (and cheaper too) as this is the future for sure. As soon as they integrate PWM on the board, make the camera a little better, we'll ALL be using them with Ardulinux or similar due to the high degree of integration of components and the ability to run anything on the board (its a linux arm computer)

Comment by Marc Dornan on December 31, 2015 at 4:02pm

"Draw your own conclusions ;-)"

It sounds promising and interesting. I hope 2016 is better for 3DR than 2015.

Comment by earthpatrol on December 31, 2015 at 4:20pm

$300 - 4k camera drone that flies 45-60 minutes with object avoidance capability in 2016. Noted. So, from an economics standpoint, you now have to sell many more units just to make the same level/ratio of profits. Sounds like a race to the bottom.

Comment by Darius Jack on December 31, 2015 at 5:50pm

@Chris, I would like to offer either Qualcomm or 3DR 3D vision algorithms, 3D object avoidance technology, passive video radar technology and more if there is any interest following new global legislation just enacted, requiring registration of every small aircraft, implementing No-Fly-Zones to cover almost every city. 3D video based anticollission systems work fine and Lidar Lite or sonar have known limitations vs. 3D vision anticollission systems. Pls let me know if there is any interest in such 3D vision anticollission systems. BTW, under present legislation by FAA, autonomous flying has been banned. FPV - First Person View vs. Fly Per Video

Comment by Tony Kenward on December 31, 2015 at 6:29pm

Sure, the control board looks cool, and perhaps technically and economically feasible if they can get market penetration and some efficiency of scale.

Their claim of increasing thrust/mass efficiency to the point that a typical 20 minute (*I assume LiPo battery*) endurance can be increased to 45 to 60 minutes is dubious at best.  Unless they are planning to simultaneously introduce a new motor technology or a new battery technology. . . yeah, not buying the hype.

Comment by Oz on December 31, 2015 at 7:13pm

I could not find anything on double or triple flight time, nothing to do with making the motor/esc more efficient. Since the flight power train (motor/esc) uses 98% of all the other electronics on board, I have zero hope for the flight time increase claim. Here is the development board.

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on December 31, 2015 at 8:13pm

Still some work left to be done, to beat those pesky humans.

Comment by Ravi on December 31, 2015 at 8:17pm

3D image processing, can self navigate through tight bends. sound scary!

Comment by Jerry Giant on December 31, 2015 at 9:40pm

avionics tends to consume more power on 20% functions of the 80% of flight duration.


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