TECH

Qualcomm Unveils New Snapdragon 'Flight' Chip Allowing Cheaper, More Powerful Drones

31/12/2015 13:15 GMT | Updated 31/12/2015 13:59 GMT

Chip-maker Qualcomm have unveiled their first sneak peak at a revolutionary new computer chip designed for drones which will give them increased flying time, reduce their price and even make them 'self-aware'.

drone

Called Snapdragon Flight, the low-cost chip has been specifically designed with drones in mind taking into account the kinds of processes that future drones will have to take on.

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This includes 3D-mapping of an environment so it can fly autonomously while also intelligently controlling its own motors to reduce strain on the engines and in turn increase the battery life.

depth

Twin stereo cameras will give future drones the ability to 'see' the depth of objects.

Qualcomm says the upshot of this will be that the next generation of drones that use Snapdragon Flight will be more intelligent (scarily so), more powerful, and much much cheaper.

The company will be giving a full demonstration of just what this tiny piece of silicon can do at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

dji

State-of-the-art drones like this DJI Inspire can cost upwards of £2000.

Drones have undoubtedly been the gadget of 2015. With a veritable army of options available ranging in price from £50-£5000 they have taken over the world thanks to their 'pick up and go' ease of use.

While they've advanced in some areas (cameras now shoot 4K instead of 1080p) they've suffered terribly in others. The price for a powerful drone is still extortionate and then when you've bought that drone you'll often find that the battery life is laughable.