While hundreds of new commercial drone companies appear every month, Motley Fool identifies four publicly traded chip makers as stocks to watch for drone investors. Motley names Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA), NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).
Ambarella has had its ups and downs of late – mostly downs, as the stock has fallen dramatically since the end of February when their major client GoPro announced that things weren’t going quite as well as expected. Motley Fool published an article just last week titled “3 Simple Reasons to Avoid Ambarella” in which they cited GoPro’s weakness, competition from Qualcomm, and pricing pressure from China as reasons that the company may not rebound quickly. However, other analysts have been more hopeful. DJI also buys image processing chips from Ambarella, and Ambarella has a number of other promising product lines.
Qualcomm has been investing in drone companies for some time now in an effort to make an impact on the drone market. They are expanding into the drone chip market and introduced their own drone development platform, Snapdragon Flight at the most recent CES conference. Qualcomm seems to be making every effort to pull DJI away from Ambarella, but they may find that DJI is teaming up with another chip maker on the list, NVIDIA, to compete with them directly against Snapdragon.
NVIDIA has struggled to compete with Qualcomm in the mobile market, but last year DJI announced that they were launching their own drone development platform, the Manifold. The Manifold is powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra processors. While not available on DJI’s most popular consumer drones, the Manifold is sold on DJI’s high-end Matrice product.
Intel is also heavily invested in drone companies and introducing its own drone designs. Intel’s “RealSense” technology offer sense and avoid capability for drones; and their push into the drone space is a significant part of Intel’s focus on the Internet of Things market: Intel’s management has made their commitment and investment in the drone industry a clear priority.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.