Intel is slapping its name on an advanced drone designed for commercial and professional uses in North America. The Falcon 8+ is the first Intel-branded commercial drone and it's outfitted for industrial inspection, surveying and mapping.
Intel's expert-level drone builds on the AscTec Falcon 8 drone, a V-form octocopter that boasts high stability, precision GPS and flight control electronics and components that are redundant three times over, as well as laying claim to the best weight-to-payload ratio around (empty weight 1.1 kg, max. payload 0.8 kg). This is basically a working drone designed for some of the most intense field applications.
The two companies had already used the Falcon 8 to create a custom drone for Airbus modified with Intel's RealSense cameras. We've also seen Intel make a concerted push into the drone world lately with a drone specifically for developers and another that makes use of the company's 3D-mapping technology for collision avoidance.
The Falcon 8+ builds on the Falcon 8 further by adding Intel's advanced, water-resistant ground Cockpit system for control and an Intel PowerPack to keep it flying.
At the center of the Cockpit is an Intel chipset-powered tablet for planning and conducting complex flight patterns as well as monitoring the live video feed via a low latency digital link up to 1080p resolution with a 1 km range. Flight control can also be managed with a single hand joystick.
The Falcon 8+ comes loaded with on-board sensors that can map surfaces down to the millimeter, which the company says allows for routes to be replicated with a high degree of accuracy.
The whole UAV is arranged in a V-form measuring 768 x 817 x 160 mm with a take off weight of 2.8 kg (6 pounds) when loaded with a camera and gimbal capable of transmitting up to 1080p HD video.
Intel announced the Falcon 8+ at the InterGeo drone conference in Germany and it hasn't yet been approved by the Federal Communications Communications for sale or use in the United States. No word from Intel on how soon that could be or what pricing will look like.