Qualcomm teams with TDK on 7nm AI robotics platform

Qualcomm teams with TDK on 7nm AI robotics platform

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Qualcomm Technologies has worked with TDK on a 7nm low power robotics platform with ten year availability for machine learning and artificial intelligence at the edge.

The Qualcomm RB5 platform includes hardware, software and development tools with add on modules for 4G and 5G connectivity. It is aimed at high-compute, low-power robots and drones in the consumer, enterprise, defence, industrial and professional service sectors where power consumption is a key factor.

The platform is based around the 7nm octacore Qualcomm QRB5165 processor, customized for robotics applications. This couples eight Kryo 585 customised ARM CPUs, Adreno 650 GPU, multiple DSPs for compute, audio and sensors with Qualcomm’s fifth-generation AI Engine. This includes the new Hexagon Tensor Accelerator (HTA), Spectra 480 image signal processor (ISP) with support for seven concurrent cameras, and a dedicated computer vision engine for enhanced video analytics (EVA) with 15TOPS performance. The 7nm chip also has supports WiFi6 simultaneous dual band (SDB) links and can be supported by Qualcomm power management ICs (PMICs).

The reference design uses TDK motor control software and sensors from TDK subsidiary Invensys, and Qualcomm is currently working with over 20 companies on the technology, including UAV maker Skydio, Dronecode and FLIR.

As well as a development kit, the platform offers off-the-shelf System-on-Modules (SoM) to speed the commercialisation of systems to flexible chip-on-board designs for cost-optimization at scale, as well as package-on-package (POP) and non-POP designs.

Over 30 other companies are developing hardware and software for various robotics applications. These include 96Boards, Acontis, ADLINK, AirMap, AirServe, Airtonomy, AlwaysAI, Augmented Pixels, Autocore, Autoware Foundation, Canonical,, DreamVu, Dronecode,, GlobalEdge, Innominds Software, InOrbit, Intel RealSense, Lantronix, Linaro, LiteOn, Kudan, ModalAI, Nod, Open Robotics, Panasonic, PathPartners, Pilot.AI, Shoreline IoT, SLAMCORE, TDK, Thundercomm, and Tier IV.

The platform is available in multiple options, including commercial and industrial-grade temperature ranges and an option for extended lifecycle until 2029. This is key for a platform designed around consumer 7nm technology that may have a relatively time in the market.

“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 Dev Singh, senior director, business development and head of autonomous robotics, drones and intelligent machines, Qualcomm Technologies. “With the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform, Qualcomm Technologies will help accelerate growth in a wide array of robotics segments such as autonomous mobile robots (AMR), delivery, inspection, inventory, industrial, collaborative robots and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), enabling Industry 4.0 robotics use cases, and laying the foundation for the UAV Traffic Management (UTM) space.”

Commercial products based on the Qualcomm Robotics RB5 platform are expected to be available in 2020.

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