Chip Manufacturing giant Intel has acquired German drone company Ascending Technologies. CEO Brian Krzanich made an official statement about the purchase during his keynote speech at CES 2016 in Las Vegas this morning. An announcement published on an Intel Blog gave some details of the acquisition, stating that by entering into the drone market “Intel is positioning itself at the forefront of this opportunity to increasingly integrate the computing, communications, sensor and cloud technology required to make drones smarter and more connected.”
Intel has already partnered with Ascending Technologies, located in Krailing Germany. Intel™ RealSense® technology (see video below) combines Ascending’s “sense and avoid” algorithms for unmanned flight with Intel’s depth sensing capability, in an effort to develop drones which can better avoid obstacles and collisions. The technology could be installed on drones across the sector, alleviating issues with crashes and near misses.
The blog explains the purpose of combining the two companies: “With Ascending Technologies, Intel gains expertise and technology to accelerate the deployment of Intel RealSense technology into the fast growing drone market segment. We plan for the Ascending Technologies team to continue supporting their current customers while also collaborating with Intel’s Perceptual Computing team to develop UAV technology that can help drones fly with more awareness of their environments.”
Intel has said that all of Ascending’s 75 employees will be offered positions at Intel; the deal is in place subject to closing conditions.
Intel, currently based in Santa Clara, CA, has been investing heavily in drone technology in recent months, and company representatives recently testified to an FAA legislative panel about the importance of drone technology to their business. In the midst of their statement they told officials that over-regulation of the industry could force them out of the US, as they were being “actively pursued” by other countries anxious to develop the drone sector.