Intel has began promoting its first commercial drone in the U.S., as it seeks to carve out a place for itself in the fast-expanding market.
The Falcon 8+ drone was on show at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas. Intel has been building its drone expertise throughout the year with a series of acquisitions, and the Falcon 8+ has grown out of its January purchase of Germany’s Ascend Technologies.
The drone has eight rotors arranged in a distinctive V-shape, designed that way so the rotors at the front don’t get in the way of a payload, said Natalie Cheung, a drone marketing manager at Intel.
“We’ve really thought about what are some of the issues commercial customers face today and when they want to get that crisp, hi-res image, you don’t want any of the rotors in the image,” she said.
Redundancy is a key feature of the device — it can continue flying even if up to two rotors on either side stop spinning. The autopilot has three different inertial measurement systems, so if one suffers from interference it can keep flying. It also take two batteries and will seamlessly switch power sources when one is exhausted.
Intel also debuted a new controller.
“It’s much more compact and we’ve really thought about the user interface for this,” said Cheung.
Called the Intel Cockpit, it’s a completely new design that replaces a previous one that was based on a model airplane controller. It has a single joystick to control the drone and a second joystick to control the camera payload.