Sunday, August 28, 2016

Intel acquires German UAS provider Ascending Technologies

Posted on 01/06/16 by Frank Tobe

California-based Intel Corp. has acquired German drone and autopilot developer Ascending Technologies. Ascending's LED light painting technology was used to fly and draw the Intel logo while the moves were shot with long exposure photography.

According to Ascending Technologies' spokesman Matthias Beldzik, Intel and Ascending Technologies, will focus on UAV obstacle avoidance systems for drones.

In an Intel blog, the chip company said the acquisition lets it "integrate the computing, communications, sensor and cloud technology required to make drones smarter and more connected. The UAV business is an important computing platform of the future."

No financial details were provided about the transaction. However the company has 75 employees and is located in Krailling, near Munich, Germany.

Ascending's auto-avoidance system is designed to prevent drones from crashing into trees, people and airplanes. Some of the company's other products already use Intel's RealSense 3D camera for 3D mapmaking and other surveillance and visualization needs. In addition to it's autopilot system Ascending also manufacturers the AscTec Neo, a programmable, totally redundant UAV. The drone is resistant against single-point-of-failure in electronics and hardware, including motors.

Collision avoidance autopilot systems are a big focus within the drone industry. Emlid, Airware, Teledyne, Boeing, CMU, MIT and many others are all developing products that can be incorporated by drone makers for this purpose, hence Intel's interest.

Intel also invested $60 million in Yuneec Electric Aviation, a Chinese drone maker, a few months ago. The two companies said that Intel and Yuneec will work on developing future products. Intel has also invested in other drone companies such as Airware and PrecisionHawk. These drone relationships fit with Intel’s strategy to make investments in companies developing products with the potential to expand the market for semiconductors, as the company searches for new devices for chips. Qualcomm is doing the same kind of strategic investments for their chip development.

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About the author: Frank Tobe

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. After selling his business and retiring from 25+ years as a provider of computer direct marketing and consulting to the Democratic National Committee, major presidential and other campaigns and initiatives, he has energetically pursued a new career in researching and investing in robotics. In 2013 he co-founded Robo-stox™ LLC (renamed to ROBO Global) which developed a tracking index for the robotics industry: the ROBO Global™ Robotics & Automation Index.

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