Intel-Funded Drone Firm Getting Ready To Take Off

Intel-Funded Drone Firm Getting Ready To Take Off
JonasF / Pixabay

Intel-funded drone manufacturing firm Yuneec has emerged as a tough competitor for Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, which is king in the consumer drone industry. Just a few weeks ago, Intel announced $60 million in funding for Yuneec, which now is releasing its first professional-quality drone aimed at aerial photographers, says a report from MarketWatch.

Yuneec announces a new product

Yuneec’s Tornado H920 is priced at $4,999 and allows a flight time of 42 minutes, which is unheard of in the drone industry. Yuneec made its first foray into drones with the Typhoon, which was aimed at hobbyists and priced low. Yuneec has taken help from Panasonic to create a camera with 3x optical zoom for the Tornado, allowing pilots to control it from the ground.

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DJI, the world’s largest consumer drone maker, is also bringing new products to the market with an aim to dominate the professional-grade drone market. On Thursday, the company announced two new cameras for its Inspire 1 drone. These cameras support super high-resolution imagery and are targeted towards the enterprise customer. DJI raised $75 million in May, valuing it at $8 billion. It is expected to make sales of over $1 billion this year, says the report.

Intel brand a big benefit for Yuneec

Yuneec’s U.S. CEO, Shan Phillips, however, is not concerned about competition. “The industry is big enough that there’s room for more of us. What we want to be is the feisty number two,” he said. Getting Yuneec’s name out there is the biggest concern for Phillips.

Not many people have heard about Yuneec. Even in the relatively insular world of drones, very few have heard of and know how to pronounce Yuneec. But now with Intel’s funding, the company with 2,000 employees will be able to expand and advance its technology. The association with Intel comes with a key benefit of the press attention and recognition, according to Phillips.

On Thursday, the company announced its Tornado line of drones, which complements its Typhoon model at $1,199. The Tornado competes with DJI’s Phantom, which is becoming increasingly popular in the segment. The Typhoon has often been criticized for being too slow and too heavy. In response, Philips says it’s “less obtrusive, safer, sturdier” than Phantom.

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