Qualcomm announces a new robotics development platform

Robotics have long been a bit of a white whale for Qualcomm. The burgeoning field is a pretty logical next step for the chipmaker, which seems to have its foot in every other aspect of electronics these days.

We’ve seen a few robotics here and there that support the company’s chips — Anki, Sony and iRobot have all utilizes them in products to date. Today at MWC, however, Qualcomm announced a more aggressive push into the field with the Robotics RB3 Platform.

The SDA/SDM845-based platform builds on past learnings in the fields of robotics and drones to develop a set of hardware and software tools designed specifically to develop future robots. Among the things the system-on-chip offering brings to the table are LTE connectivity (5G robots will have to wait, apparently), Qualcomm’s AI engine and sensor processing for things like mapping and navigation.

“With the Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform, we aim to bring our cutting-edge AI, edge compute and connectivity technologies into the hands of many more robotics innovators to help spur the fast development and commercialization of a new generation of useful and intelligent robots in agriculture, consumer, delivery, inspection, service, smart manufacturing/Industry 4.0, warehousing and logistics, and other applications,” Qualcomm’s Dev Singh said in a release tied to the news.

Along with Qualcomm’s own software offerings, the system is set to work with Amazon’s recently announced AWS RoboMaker and Ubuntu.

Anki, Misty and JD are among the announced early adopters of the platform, which is currently available as a dev kit. Commercial applications are set to arrive later this year.