Qualcomm today presents a new line of chips made to measure for smart cameras. The new line is called Vision Intelligence Platform and aims to obtain artificial intelligence functions, image processing in extreme low light, image stabilization and computer vision capabilities in more cameras, and do it better than a reused smartphone chip.
The chips are designed for almost any camera that can make use of intensive processing features: sports cameras, security cameras, 360-degree cameras and even robots (for example, something like a Roomba) that need to navigate, among others . The chips support 4K video, multiple video streams at lower resolutions, stitching of 360 videos, WQHD screens, avoidance of obstacles and the creation of video highlighting reels for action cameras.
Qualcomm already offers Snapdragon chips reused for cameras
It will depend on hardware manufacturers that use these chips to take advantage of those features and, in fact, develop them. But Qualcomm's goal is to enable hardware companies to implement them and allow them to be implemented better than they could with other chips. Because there is dedicated hardware for many of these functions, Qualcomm says they will consume less power while performing better than they would if run on a more general-purpose chip.
The first two chips in the line, the QCS605 and the QCS603 (unrelated to the Snapdragon 600 series), are designed for Wi-Fi cameras, since none have an LTE radio. The 605 supports 4K video at 60 fps, and the 603 supports 4K video at 30 fps.
This is not Qualcomm's first attempt to offer chips for smart cameras. This was done in the past, but reusable Snapdragon chips were always used, for example, one ended up in Nest Cam's IQ. This is the first time that Qualcomm offers chips specially designed for smart cameras, which means that future generations of these products could start moving a little faster.
Qualcomm has already started testing the 605 chips for hardware partners and expects the products that use them to come out in the second half of the year.