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Qualcomm’s second-gen drone board has Snapdragon 820 and four cameras

Dec 19, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 2044 views

Qualcomm and Intrinsyc opened pre-orders on a 75 x 36mm “Qualcomm Flight Pro” reference platform for drones and robotics that runs Linux on a Snapdragon 820 with WiFi, BT, GNSS, IMUs, 4x cameras, and optional motor board.

The Qualcomm Flight Pro reference platform for consumer drones and robotics applications is a follow-on to the Qualcomm Flight platform, which was previously launched under the name Snapdragon Flight. Intrinsyc is distributing the Qualcomm Flight Pro for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and has opened pre-orders at $949, with shipments due in early January.



Qualcomm Flight Pro board on plastic mounting platform (left) and the full Flight Pro kit
(click images to enlarge)

The Qualcomm Flight Pro advances from a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with 4x Cortex-A53 like Krait cores to a Snapdragon 820 ( APQ8096SG) with 4x higher-end Kryo cores — 2x at 2.15GHz and 2x at 1.6GHz. The Snapdragon 820 also integrates an Adreno 530 GPU and Hexagon 680 DSP.

The system runs on a Linux 3.18 and Yocto/OpenEmbedded based stack with SDK, a Docker container, and support for the Robot Operating System (ROS). An optional Qualcomm Navigator SDK supports autonomous, vision-supported WiFi-based flight controls with advanced flight modes, built-in sensor calibration, and automatic flight logging. The SDK supports assisted flight modes, including VISLAM and DFS, based on the Qualcomm machine vision SDK.

The Qualcomm Flight Pro is slightly larger than the original at a still very compact 75 x 36mm, making room for 4x cameras driven by MIPI-CSI interfaces. You get a pair of forward-facing stereo-vision cameras using Omnivision OV7251 black and white VGA sensors by way of a Sunny GP161C module, as well as a forward-facing, 13-megapixel, [email protected] camera with a Sony IMX214 color sensor in a KLT Module. There’s also a downward-facing camera with a black and white VGA OV7251 sensor via a Sunny MD102A module.

The Pro board includes 4GB LPDDR4, a microSD slot, and 32GB UFS 2.0 (HS-G3 1-Lane) storage. Other features include a Qualcomm QCA6174 wireless module with 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.2 (with antenna mounts), as well as a Qualcomm WGR7640 GNSS location chip that supports an optional UBlox GPS module. The SBC is further equipped with an IMU with gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass (Dual Invensense MPU9250) and a barometer/pressure sensor (Bosch BMP280).

Several UART and I2C headers are onboard, as well as LEDs and a micro-USB 3.0 serial debug interface with serial console adapter and cable. Onboard radio control I/O is dedicated to an optional Spektrum radio control transceiver.

The -10 to 70°C tolerant board ships with a 5V PMIC, and the kit is further equipped with 5V DC power supply and an Advanced Power Module (APM) cable — a power supply converter board that also supports a 2S-6S LiPo battery regulated to 5V. A custom FTDI debug cable is also available.



Optional ESC motor control board (left) and Dragon DDK kit
(click images to enlarge)

The board integrates a DSP sensor-core interface for an optional, $144 Qualcomm Flight Electronic Speed Control (ESC) v2 board. The ESC board is equipped with 4x Atmel MCUs and interfaces for controlling four brushless motors for propellers.

A $369 Dragon Drone Development Kit (Dragon DDK) from World Electronics gives you everything you need to turn your Flight Pro and ESC boards into a fully-functioning quadcopter. The kit includes a pre-assembled frame with motors, propellers, an indicator LED, a WiFi antenna, and adapters.

 
Further information

The Qualcomm Flight Pro is available for $949, not including the above noted accessories, with shipments due in early January. More information may be found in the Intrinsyc announcement and the Qualcomm Flight Pro product page.
 

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