Dev Singh with RB5 development kit
Dev Singh of Qualcomm Technologies with the company’s new RB5 robotics development kit.

San Diego-based wireless pioneer Qualcomm announced Wednesday a new platform for robotics applications based on its popular Snapdragon processor for smartphones.

Qualcomm said the RB5 platform leverages the company’s expertise in 5G wireless and artificial intelligence to help manufacturers to create the next generation of high-compute, low-power robots and drones for the consumer, business, defense and professional services industries.

Dev Singh, senior director of business development and head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm Technologies, said the same technologies that make a smartphone so useful apply to robotics. These include cameras, communications, location awareness, fast processing and long battery life.

“By applying its deep-rooted mobile systems expertise to the robotics industry, Qualcomm Technologies is helping to enable the creation of more powerful, secure, and intelligent robots than ever before,” said Singh. “With the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, Qualcomm Technologies will help accelerate growth in a wide array of robotics segments such as automated guided vehicles, autonomous mobile robots, delivery robots and drones, inventory, industrial, and collaborative robots.”

The company said more than 30 firms in the robotics and related industries are developing hardware and software to work with the platform, which supports advanced machine learning, seven concurrent cameras, rapid image processing, and 5G wireless connectivity.

“The new Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform from Qualcomm Technologies is a dream chipset come true. The platform integrates key capabilities such as high-performance heterogeneous computing, 5G/LTE, the Qualcomm AI Engine for on-device machine learning and computer vision, hi-fidelity sensor processing for perception, odometry for localization, mapping, and navigation, strong security, and Wi-Fi connectivity,” said Darin Andersen, chief executive officer of NXT Robotics, a San Diego company that builds security robots.

The development kit supports cameras, microphones, motor control, distance sensors, environmental sensors and other components to allow robots to engage with the world.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.