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(Pocket-lint) - Is the Qualcomm Snapdragon Cargo the future of drones? It looks like something NASA would send on a mission to another planet.

The Snapdragon Cargo is more versatile than any drone we've seen so far. It is shaped like the outside of a tank with tracks running around its outer edge allowing it to move about on the ground. These tracks double as a protective layer where the dual rotors can slide inside to elevate the drone. The result is greater protection, more versatile maneuverability and the ability to carry cargo. Although how much it can carry isn't detailed or shown in the video.

Since the name is Snapdragon Cargo, carrying is clearly a big part of the drone's appeal. But also the low-power chip from Qualcomm is a big factor too. This allows for Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO), Vision-only Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping (VSLAM) and Depth From Stereo cameras (DFS) – all of which allow for 3D mapping and navigating of environments including object evasion. It all sounds like a robot vacuum to us.

The Snapdragon Cargo is a part of Qualcomm Research meaning we may not be able to get hold of one for some time yet. But it's an exciting possibility for the future of autonomous drones.

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Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 6 January 2015.