Intel Acquires German Drone Maker

The purchase of Ascending Technologies fits Intel's strategy of finding new markets for its processors and software.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJanuary 4, 2016

Intel said Monday it had acquired German drone maker Ascending Technologies in another move to integrate its processors and software into the next wave of connected devices.

The two companies had already partnered up to use Intel’s RealSense 3D cameras to help Ascending’s drones sense and avoid obstacles around it. Intel did not disclose the price of the acquisition but said all Ascending employees are receiving offers to join Intel.

As Forbes reports, the bulk of Intel’s revenue still comes from its legacy PC business but as that market continues to slow down, it has been searching for ways to integrate its technology into new devices.

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“The company already missed out on the mobile revolution, and it hopes to not repeat that mistake again,” Forbes noted.

In August, Intel invested in Chinese drone maker Yuneec, joining other chip makers that have become technology suppliers to the drone industry. Last year, rival Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon Flight — a “system-on-a-chip” built specifically for flying robots.

Other recent Intel acquisitions include wearable fitness company Basis and headworn wearables company Recon Instruments.

Amid increasing regulatory scrutiny over drone safety, Ascending has touted its auto-avoidance system as a way of preventing drones from crashing into trees, people and airplanes.

Intel said Ascending will continue to support existing customers while also collaborating with Intel’s Perceptual Computing team to develop technology that “can help drones fly with more awareness of their environments.”

According to an analysis of government data by Bard College researchers, airplane pilots said drones flew closer than 500 feet to their aircraft 241 times from December 2013 to September 2015.

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