Intel’s chip making business for PCs is slowing down as people use more smartphones and tablets instead. Therefore, the chip maker is looking for new sources of income, and as part of this, its venture capital arm invested $60 million in Yuneec, a Hong Kong-based company that sells consumer drones.
Intel chips inside drones
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich wants to take the company beyond manufacturing components for computers and phones, and the latest move again highlights this plan. At an Intel event in San Francisco last week, and at several other high profile events, Krzanich has displayed drones, robots and other new-wave gadgets.
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Intel and Yuneec have plans of collaborating on product development, under which future drones from Yuneec might come with Intel chips. Krzanich discussed the potential uses of a drone in a video presentation, saying that drones could be used for tasks like the delivery of packages and inspection of disaster sites.
“We’ve got drones on our road map that are going to truly change the world and revolutionize the industry,” he said when announcing the investment.
Seeking new products for its chips
The chip maker is searching for new devices to get its chips into, and the latest strategy is to invest in companies that are developing products with the potential of expanding the market for semiconductors. The investment in Yuneec, marks its third investment this week, with the earlier two being Mirantis, an OpenStack company, and BlueData.
Yuneec was founded in 1999, and it started with piloted airplanes. The company introduced its first unmanned drone in 2014. It informed investors that one of its drones, the Typhoon Q500 4K, features an ultra-high definition camera. It flies smoothly, records video easily, and is priced at $1,299. The company’s drones are used by both consumers and industrial users.
Airware and PrecisionHawk are two more drone manufacturing companies in which Intel has invested. Drones can be programmed to perform autonomous actions that were not possible with earlier remote-control planes, which can either hover in a fixed position to fly home. Intel has also designed special cameras for drones to help them avoid objects without the need of human assistance, thus enhancing their abilities.