Intel on Monday revealed plans to enter the drone-making business, for which it acquired Ascending Technologies, a German drone maker, for an undisclosed price. With this move, the chip maker follows in the footsteps of rival chip maker Qualcomm, which last year shared intentions of making it big in the drone-making industry.
Intel foraying into the fast-growing drone market
How much Intel paid for the deal is not yet disclosed, but the chip maker said it is offering jobs to 75 employees of the company. On Tuesday, CEO Brian Krzanich will reveal more details on the company’s plans during a keynote at CES.
“With Ascending Technologies, Intel gains expertise and technology to accelerate the deployment of Intel RealSense technology into the fast growing drone market segment,” the chip maker said in a blog post announcing the deal.
Intel’s 3D depth camera was already being used by Ascending Technologies to power its collision avoidance systems. Besides having a working partnership with Ascending, Intel also invested in it last year.
Last year, the Asctec Firefly, a drone built by Ascending Technologies in partnership with Intel, received a best in show prize from The Verge. The drone showed off robust “sense and avoid” technology powered by Intel’s RealSense camera and Ascending’s auto-pilot software.
Rising interest of chip makers in drone business
Big chip makers consider drones a massive opportunity. Previously, Qualcomm announced plans to begin production of a modified version of its Snapdragon chip just for drones. The company will soon show off the capabilities of a drone equipped with that technology.
Similar to camcorders the 1990s, Qualcomm believes drones will become a ubiquitous tool in the coming times. Making chips for drones is a part of the broader market called Internet of Things (IoT), which includes making chips for robots and smart appliances.
Overall, the growing interest of chip makers towards the drone market is good news for drone enthusiasts as it is bound to lead to economies of scale and lower prices. Qualcomm has already made a promise to come up with 4K camera drones having twice the battery life but at a third of the price.
On Monday, Intel shares closed down 1.34% at $33.99. In 2015, the stock fell almost 7%, while in the last one month, it is down by almost 3%.