Intel Launches Its First Branded Drone
The Falcon 8+ is the result of the chip maker buying Ascending Technologies earlier this year and is aimed at industrial and commercial uses.Intel officials have cited drones as an important growth market for the chip maker, and the company has been aggressive in getting its technologies—including silicon and software—into devices from other companies. Now Intel is rolling out a drone of its own, with the company's name not only on components inside the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), but also on the outside. At the InterGeo 2016 show this week, Intel officials unveiled the Falcon 8+, the company's first branded drone. It builds off the work done on the Falcon 8, a commercial drone developed by Ascending Technologies, a startup that Intel had worked with before buying it earlier this year. The octocopter is designed for industrial and commercial work, including inspection, surveying and mapping, and comes with a broad range of capabilities and a sophisticated control unit. "Drones are an important computing platform for the future, and Intel is positioning itself at the forefront of this opportunity to provide the compute, sensor, communications and cloud integration for the growing drone ecosystem," Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group, wrote in a post on the company blog. "The system provides detailed images down to millimeter accuracy and gives valuable structural analysis that helps users detect and prevent further damage to infrastructure. Operators will have tremendous opportunities to generate valuable aerial precision data."
The drone market—for both consumers and business users—is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. In a recent report on the general state of aviation in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicted that by 2020 about 4.3 million UAVs will be sold to consumers, and another 2.7 million will be sold to businesses for commercial use. The FAA is trying to get out in front of the trend by developing regulations regarding drone operations.