I attended a keynote speech by Irwin at ICASSP 2007 in Hawaii, and I kept a very good memory of him since then. I wish him well in his retirement!
As for Qualcomm, it was indeed "rapid innovation" for commercially relevant problems in Comms that pushed it to the front.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.