The machines are here: Intel reveals industrial Falcon 8+ drone

13 Oct 2016

Intel Falcon 8+. Image: Intel Corporation

Intel’s first branded drone, the Falcon 8+, has been revealed, pitched at the industrial sector and poised to take jobs out of labourers’ hands.

Far from your smartphone-managed hobby drone, the Intel Falcon 8+ is the company’s attempt at sneaking in on the ground floor of a nascent industry that’s set to explode.

Widely accepted as the future of some of humanity’s more laborious tasks, such as deliveries and site reconnaissance, drones will continue to improve in terms of functionality and weight-to-payload capacity. Intel claims the best drone in that regard, at the moment, is its new Falcon 8+.

Future Human

Intel drone

Operated at a water-resistant station via joysticks and a special monitor called Intel Cockpit, the company claims it’s setting “a new standard” in industrial drones.

We’ve seen drones used in construction works in Ireland already, with the €115m expansion of the Bausch + Lomb facility in Waterford overseen by such technology earlier this year.

Last month, Intel said it was acquiring Movidius, the Irish machine-vision chip maker whose technology is powering AI in cutting-edge virtual reality and drone applications by companies like Google and China’s DJI.

Intel said it plans to use the Movidius acquisition to position the chip giant to provide computer vision and deep-learning solutions from the device to the cloud.

Movidius has its fingerprints all over a growing number of internet of things devices of late, though its unclear if it played any role in the Falcon 8+ (unlikely given the timeframe).

Intel Falcon 8+ cockpit. Image: Intel Corporation

Intel Falcon 8+ cockpit. Image: Intel Corporation

Intel says its Falcon 8+ includes full electronic system redundancy and automated aerial-sensing solutions, with interference from other hobbyist drones rendered, apparently, obsolete.

“The system provides detailed images down to millimetre accuracy and gives valuable structural analysis that helps users detect and prevent further damage to infrastructure,” said Josh Walden, SVP and GM of Intel’s new technology group.

“Drones are an important computing platform for the future, and Intel is positioning itself at the forefront of this opportunity to provide the compute, sensor, communications and cloud integration for the growing drone ecosystem.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic