Qualcomm combines 5G and AI in new RB5 platform for high-end robots and drones
Qualcomm has announced a new top-end robotics platform featuring 5G connectivity and AI processing for high-compute, low-power robots and drones.
The RB5 platform, based on the previous RB3 unit, comprises a set of hardware, software, and development tools for building robots and drones for customers in the consumer, enterprise, industrial, and defence sectors. It comes with a LTE and 5G compatible companion module.
The platform runs on a QRB5165 processor, customised for robotics applications, featuring an “AI engine” capable of delivering 15 tera operations per second (TOPS) for running complex AI and deep learning workloads.
It also offers machine learning (ML) inferencing at the edge under restricted power budgets using the Qualcomm’s own HTA (Hexagon Tensor Accelerator) image signal processor, which comes with support for seven concurrent cameras, and a dedicated computer vision engine for enhanced video analytics.
Qualcomm is offering both off-the-shelf system-on-module solutions and flexible chip-on-board designs. The solution is available in multiple options, including commercial and industrial-grade temperature ranges and an option for extended lifecycle until 2029.
Dev Singh, senior director for business development and head of autonomous robotics at Qualcomm, said: “With the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, [we] will help accelerate growth in a wide array of robotics segments such as autonomous mobile robots, delivery, inspection, inventory, industrial, collaborative robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, enabling Industry 4.0 robotics use cases, and laying the foundation for the UAV Traffic Management (UTM) space.”
Qualcomm said 20-odd companies are evaluating the platform, and a further 30 are developing hardware and software to enable various robotics applications. It has also struck a “strategic collaboration” with Japanese electronics firm TDK to enhance the RB5 platform further, it said.