technology

‘The combination of 5G and AI will unlock new possibilities for drone technology’

‘The combination of 5G and AI will unlock new possibilities for drone technology’

Drone and its use cases are creating sense of inquisitiveness among the service providers, government and the end users. Government is busy drafting new rules for it whereas companies like Qualcomm been doing the research work for the actual use cases. Uday Dodla, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Qualcomm India explained this nascent but niche concept to us. How is Qualcomm technologies driving transformation for the IoT ecosystem and accelerating the drone technology deployment? India is one of the fastest growing drone markets in the world. According to PWC India, the industry is expected to reach $1,810 million by FY 2026, growing at a CAGR of 14.61 per cent. Qualcomm sees immense potential for innovation in the drone industry, especially in the light of the new drone rules laid down by the government. There is scope for a wider range of use cases. Qualcomm’s first product for drones was introduced in 2015 – the Snapdragon Flight, a system-on-a-chip that enables advanced video handling, communication, and navigation capabilities for small drones. Snapdragon Flight is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, which, together with robust connectivity, advanced drone software and development tools, and cutting-edge mobile technologies, enables the creation of a new class of consumer drones. Qualcomm partnered with NASA Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) to develop technologies and solutions that power the Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, to prepare for the first powered flight on another planet that took place earlier this year. This was a breakthrough success for unmanned flight powered by the Qualcomm Flight Platform. Qualcomm subsequently affirmed its leadership in drone technology with the launch of Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform – the world’s first drone platform and reference design to offer both 5G and AI-capabilities. With 5G on the anvil and the age of AI, how do you think the amalgamation of the two helps in enabling wide scale deployments of mission-critical drone use cases? AI will be the catalyst for solving important wireless challenges where traditional methods have failed. It is a well- known fact that AI will have a strong impact on several key areas of 5G use cases -- such as enhanced service quality, simplified deployment, higher network efficiency, and improved network security. On the other hand, low latency, and high capacity of 5G will allow the AI processing to be distributed across device, edge cloud, and central cloud – enabling flexible system solutions for a variety of new and enhanced experiences. This adaptable wireless edge architecture allows performance and economic trade-off’s to determine the distribution of workloads to reach the required latency or compute requirements for a particular application. How will 5G enable safe, consumer and commercial drone deployment from a consumer standpoint? 5G will be a major technology upgrade for enterprises and consumers alike. The low latency and high capacity of 5G to process data will allow users to manoeuvre drones with great accuracy and from a greater distance. Many drone use cases feature video recording, which, in turn, involves a lot of data streaming. 5G and Wi-Fi 6 features enable low-latency connections with UAV controllers for precise movements and immediate first-person view (FPV) response time. Fast connectivity also allows access footage in real time. Security must go hand-in-hand with connectivity. Our platform has comprehensive security links and powerful encryption technology built into it for cybersecurity, data protection, and drone safety requirements. With the help of these features and onboard AI processing, users will be able to control the drone safely and securely. What are the various use cases that Qualcomm has been enabling? Will they increase in the near future? We are leveraging our expertise in 5G and AI to support the creation of next-generation, high-performance, low-power drones for consumer, enterprise, and industrial use. Our latest the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform redefines autonomous drone capabilities and is supporting the development of use cases in industries and sectors like film and entertainment, security, delivery, defense, agriculture, inspection, and mapping. UAVs are now an invaluable tool in disaster management, search and rescue, critical medical delivery, and public safety operations. Drones offer a unique, up-close perspective on everything from oil and gas refineries to telecommunications towers, power lines, and bridges. Industries like agriculture, real estate, construction, insurance, mining, research, and first responders could benefit as well. Similar to asset inspection, the 5G connectivity capabilities of the Qualcomm Flight can enable the fast, low-latency transfers of camera shots and LIDAR/FLIR sensor data needed for accurate mapping and surveying. Agriculture and construction are just two examples of industries that can greatly benefit from this enhanced drone mapping. The demand for drone response to natural disasters and emergencies is growing rapidly, and cutting-edge camera features combined with AI and 5G make the Qualcomm Flight platform ideal for addressing public safety threats in new, effective ways. How do you see the drone delivery option to the last-mile customer in India? In recent years, customers have come to expect home deliveries in quick time. While last-mile customer service has improved by leaps and bounds and continues to get better, drone technology will prove to be a real game changer. Delivery by drone could well become the preferred mode for delivering many kinds of products. The combination of 5G and AI will unlock new possibilities for flight technology – from autonomous package delivery to mission-critical applications for disaster relief and first responders. UAVs are already proving invaluable in disaster management, search and rescue, critical medical delivery, and general public safety operations. The recent ICMR initiative of using drones to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the hard-to-reach terrains of the North-East is a good example. Instances where time is a critical factor and terrain, or access is cut off are another use case. With 5G, one can expand the area of reach significantly further. The Qualcomm Flight platform, with its high-quality cameras and advanced AI engine, can monitor large areas and assist management officials in delivering essential supplies to emergency teams on in situations where human deployment could be dangerous or time consuming. Download.

technology 2021-12-06 Livemint