Qualcomm Green-Lighted for Drone R&D in Class B Airspace

Posted by Betsy Lillian on April 11, 2016 No Comments

Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of telecommunications company Qualcomm Inc., says it has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization to fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at its San Diego location, which is near a major airport and is thus classified as being in Class B airspace.

According to a company blog post, the company plans to “test and refine UAS technologies, such as autonomous operation and reliable 4G/5G communications, which help enhance safety in drone deployments,” especially those taking place at night and beyond the visual line of sight of the operator.

This new Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, says Qualcomm, offers the company’s research and development (R&D) team an opportunity to “evaluate new technologies in a real-world urban environment – under tight controls at all times.” The team is authorized to fly the drones up to 200 feet in altitude.

According to Qualcomm, the two R&D focus areas will be the “development of remote operation and autonomous flight control algorithms that run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone development platform” and “the communications link from the UAS to the ground and vice versa.”

Last September, Qualcomm rolled out its Snapdragon Flight, a 58×40 mm board targeted specifically for consumer drones and robotics applications.coming-home_sized

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