Intel Drone

Intel Buys German Drone Firm Ascending Technologies

January 4, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

CES 2016 is getting off to an interesting start, and while the press events and press releases have only just started there’s no shortage of interesting news already. Where Consumer Technology is concerned there are a couple of technologies that will be big throughout 2016 and enjoyed a strong 2015. Those two technologies would be Drones as well as Virtual Reality. We’ve already heard that the Oculus Rift will be going up for pre-order later this week, but Intel has some interesting news to share already, in that they’ve joined their competitor Qualcomm in the skies with the purchase of a Drone firm.

Qualcomm, somewhat bizarrely, got into the Drone game a little while ago – with presumably more to tell us this week – and it now looks like Intel is joining in. According to a report from Re/code, Intel has purchased German startup Ascending Technology, but didn’t disclose a price or say what they would be doing with the company outside of the fact that they’ve offered jobs to the firm’s 75 employees. Intel is of course holding a Keynote during CES later this week, so we’re presumably going to hear more then.

The small firm was already licensing and using Intel’s RealSense camera technology, the same seen in some Dell tablets from last year so there’s a chance the two were already familiar. Intel’s RealSense gave the AscTec drones the ability to sense depth as well as distance, leading to them able to avoid collisions on its own. While not quite self-flying levels of intelligence, it’s an impressive feat to watch. Intel’s buying of the small firm could be their way of further perfecting Ascending Technologies work with RealSense to sell to the wider market. Firms like Parrot and JDI have done a good job of making some of the best drones available, but with extra software and hardware from Intel they could be much better flying on their own. Or, Intel could be looking to ramp up Ascending Technologies’ operation and produce their own drones to take to the skies with, just like Qualcomm. Hopefully, we’ll find out a little more later this week.