Intel Buys Irish Chip Firm That Powers Tango, DJI Drones

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Intel will acquire Ireland-based chip maker Movidius, which is a supplier for Google and drone manufacturer DJI, to push its goals of giving “human-like sight” to connected devices. Earlier this year, the Irish chip maker sealed a deal with Google to supply chips for its mobile computer vision efforts. Some other popular customers of Movidius are Lenovo and thermal imaging company FLIR.

Movidius’ tech will combine with Intel’s RealSense

Intel’s RealSense depth-sensing camera tech, which is already used in a few webcams and is being built into drones and augmented reality headsets, will be integrated with Movidius’s technology. In a blog pot, Josh Walden, Intel’s new tech chief, named these as main areas of deployment alongside digital security cameras and robotics. He says they see huge potential for Movidius to accelerate their initiatives in new and emerging tech.

“The ability to track, navigate, map and recognize both scenes and objects using Movidius’ low-power and high-performance SoCs opens opportunities in areas where heat, battery life and form factors are key,” the executive said.

Remi El-Ouazzane, chief executive of Movidius, said the combination of Intel’s RealSense with its tech will result in autonomous machines that can understand their surroundings, see in 3D and navigate accordingly.

“When computers can see, they can become autonomous and that’s just the beginning,”

Intel to take in all of Movidius employees

Intel is buying the Irish company for an undisclosed amount. A spokesperson told The Verge them that all 180 employees of Movidius will be “integrated” into Intel’s Perceptual Computing Group. In May, the chip maker acquired another computer vision company named Itseez.

Movidius makes SoC (system-on-a-chip) platforms designed to assist computer vision applications. The Irish firm has algorithms as well for things such as navigation, depth processing and deep learning. The intent is to do the kind of heavy image interpretation on a phone that currently needs remote processing power in the cloud, reports Fortune.

Movidius is famous for powering the first generation of Tango devices that were able to navigate and track their surroundings in real time by using specialized sensors and cameras. Next, the Irish chip maker helped in making DJI’s Phantom 4 drone better in sensing and avoiding obstacles.

At 9:50 a.m. Eastern today, Intel shares were up 0.78% at $36.37. Year to date, the stock is up almost 4%, while in the last year, it is up almost 28%. The stock has a 52-week high of $36.56 and a 52-week low of $27.68.

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