Semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corporation this week announced the launch of the “Aero Ready to Fly” quadcopter drone, designed as a platform for drone application developers. The quadcopter will be available later this year; it was unveiled August 16 at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.
“Designed from the ground up to support drones,” the Aero platform is a UAV developer kit powered by Intel’s Atom processor and combining computing, storage, communications and data input/output “in a form factor the size of a standard playing card. When matched with the optional Vision Accessory Kit, developers will have opportunities to launch sophisticated drone applications,” Intel said.
The quadcopter platform supports “plug and play” options, including a flight controller with open-source Dronecode PX4 software; Intel’s “RealSense” camera for obstacle avoidance; and the Map SDK (software development kit) from AirMap, of Santa Monica, Calif., for airspace mapping applications.
Also at the developer forum, Intel showcased the Yuneec Typhoon H hexacopter equipped with its RealSense depth-sensing camera technology. The Typhoon H with Intel RealSense is available now for $1,899, the company said.
The launch of the Aero quadcopter is the latest of multiple recent drone-related announcements by Intel. Last August, company announced that it would invest $60 million in Hong Kong-based Yuneec, and this January it acquired Ascending Technologies, a manufacturer of autopilot systems and multi-rotor drones based in Krailing, Germany. Intel Capital, the company’s venture capital arm, has made equity investments in Airware of San Francisco, designer of a commercial drone operating system; and PrecisionHawk of Raleigh, N.C., a drone manufacturer and aerial data provider.
In May, the FAA announced that it had appointed Intel CEO Brian Krzanich as chairman of its new Drone Advisory Committee, a group consisting of C-level executives representing the small unmanned aircraft systems industry and users.