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 Randy on December 31, 2015 at 11:43pm

Those who scour the ardupilot wiki may have noticed that we (mostly Tridge really) recently ported ardupilot to run on the snapdragon board (videos herehere and here).  It's probably very similar to the one in the video but it doesn't have the stereo cameras.

It's a heck of a board with tons of CPU power, 2 built in cameras, wifi (of course) and potentially the ability to connect to the mobile network for 3G/4G/LTE telemetry.

The developer board's price is terrible but I hope it's a preview of the kinds of boards we get to work with in the future because it opens up a lot of possibilities.  Of course, sadly it's not open source hardware but maybe other companies will make similarly high powered flight controllers so we can get some healthy competition going?

Comment by Jiro Hattori on January 1, 2016 at 12:00am

Wow, very nice videos, Randy!

One question, have you utilize optical flow sensors on those flights?

Comment by Randy on January 1, 2016 at 4:43am


No, just regular Stabilize, AltHold and Loiter. On the board I have there's no special purpose optical flow sensor but perhaps the downward facing camera could be used for that along with other things like precision landing.  It's significantly lower resolution than the forward facing camera so it wouldn't be any good for doing mapping.

Comment by Thomas Stone on January 1, 2016 at 8:11am

Excellent! ... We want to get a dev board, but it looks like the stereo cameras are currently missing. Also, it will be nice to have a compatible ESC board, and an ARF kit will be even better.

I am guessing that we will eventually see the release a "SOLO2-like" product based on the Qualcomm components, including the DroneKit/SDK to enable some level of DIY development.... That being said, it would still be nice to have this board at a lower price. But it is what it is. :)

Comment by Roberto Navoni on January 1, 2016 at 8:14am


what SOM are you used for your video ? 

Comment by Jerry Giant on January 1, 2016 at 10:03am

Please, Chris, make this board a github-able hardware like rpi, don't be another DJI.

Comment by Bill Bonney on January 1, 2016 at 10:27am

Qualcomm are big enough to do what they want, but there are always other options as there are so many chip manufacturers these days. Here's another board from Imagination Technologies (They make the PowerVR graphics chips that are iPhones/iPads and other Android smart devices)

Much better price for tinkering :)

BTW: I don't think you will ever see a 'real dev board' like Pixhawk or APM2.x HW. Going forward I'd  guess that the Solo expansion port compatible products is what you will see. The prosumer products will be nicely packaged and will have price tags to match. Think 'PC Builder' like business model.
(it's always good to look at the PC market and it's evolution to understand how the minds in the drone business and even bigger the IoT business are looking at this market now)

PS: CES is in a few weeks, so we get an idea about that!

Comment by Sigitas Ciapas on January 2, 2016 at 1:52am

"Draw your own conclusions ;-)" 

My guess that Solo will have the first official accessory on its bay? :)

Comment by Jack Crossfire on January 2, 2016 at 1:17pm

When are you going to get Randy a camera with manual focus?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 2, 2016 at 6:11pm

Here's APM:Copter running on the Snapdragon Flight board, thanks to Randy MacKay


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