Qualcomm, one of the world’s leading developers for smartphone chips, marched into the consumer drone market this week with a platform that could soon be steering a new generation of UAVs with bigger brains and smaller price tags.

This week, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon Flight, the very first Snapdragon system-on-a-chip (SoC) built for the skies. The compact computer board, which is based on the Snapdragon 801 processor found in many high-end Android phones, includes a quad-core 2.26 GHz processor, a digital signal processor for real-time flight control, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a Global Navigation Satellite System receiver and 4K video processing. The Snapdragon Flight will make its debut in a Chinese Yuneec drone that hits markets in 2016.

Demand for UAVs has skyrocketed over the past several years, but as Wired notes, most would-be customers today have to choose between an expensive, high-powered drone, or a cheap toy. If Qualcomm’s new SoC meets expectations, the tech company could position itself as the leader in a new market of compact, energy-efficient drones with powerful image processing and communications capabilities.

So if you’re already sick of shooing your neighbor’s drone out of your backyard, time to get used to it — this market’s only going to grow.

[Wired]


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