April 25, 2022
ModalAI, which manufactures autonomous drone and robot technology under the Blue UAS Framework, has announced availability of its VOXL 2 system, powered by Qualcomm’s Flight RB5 5G platform. The new computing platform aims to accelerate the development of commercial drone and robot solutions to realize the benefits of autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G wireless connectivity.
Weighing only 16 grams, the VOXL 2 integrates a PX4 real-time flight controller with an 8-core CPU up to 15 TOPS, seven image sensors, TDK IMUs and barometer, and 5G connectivity. The platform can enable autonomy and communications for indoor and outdoor drones, and robots with vision-based SLAM and AI for movement. In particular, the system is designed for GPS-denight, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) with obstacle avoidance. With the 5G add-on, VOXL 2 can enhance mission-critical navigation, including beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) to support safer and more reliable flight, ModalAI said.
“VOXL 2 creates a major leap in computing capability for the UAS industry,” said Chad Sweet, CEO and co-founder of ModalAI. “From developing the first Blue UAS Framework autopilot, VOXL, to unlocking 5G skies with the Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform, this launch is an important milestone to enable the next generation of smaller, smarter, and safer drones.”
VOXL 2 is the result of the Blue sUAS 2.0 initiative, started by the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and is FY20 NDAA Section 848 compliant. ModalAI said VOXL 2 addresses supply chain concerns around unreliable, unsecure components from foreign manufacturers.
“As Qualcomm Technologies diversifies with new opportunities powering the connected intelligent edge, we are committed to providing on-device intelligence and premium connectivity drone solutions that will unleash innovation across industries,” said Dev Singh, senior director of business development and general manager of robotics, drones and intelligent machines at Qualcomm Technologies. “We are proud to collaborate with ModalAI to scale our industry-leading solutions and congratulate the team on the launch of the VOXL 2, which will continue to support innovation across robotics and drones.”
The company said it created the VOXL 2 reference drone, Sentinel, to enable developers to fly quickly. In addition, the company said it is working with more than a dozen partners on integrating VOXL 2 into their newest drones and robots.
“Auterion OS is at the forefront of driving the drone industry towards a unified standard that will allow for interoperability between enterprise drones and services,” said Lorenz Meier, CEO of Auterion. “We are pleased to collaborate with ModalAI to make Auterion OS available on VOXL 2. Developers looking to build solutions for enterprise drone users with global and open standards using a common infrastructure an run Auterion OS on VOXL 2.”
The VOXL 2 is immediately available for $1,199.99, and can be ordered here.