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Intel buys German drone company Ascending Technologies

Prepare for more 'drone ping pong.'

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Intel has signed on the dotted line to acquire Ascending Technologies, a German drone company specializing in detect-and-avoid systems for UAVs. Ascending Technologies helped Intel show off during its CES 2015 keynote with a game of "drone ping pong," which demonstrated a hovering drone that automatically moved away from approaching people and obstacles. The flying robot, called the AscTec Firefly, was equipped with six of Intel's RealSense depth cameras.

This acquisition signals Intel's commitment the UAV business, which it calls "an important computing platform of the future." Ascending Technologies will continue to support its existing customers while partnering with Intel's Perceptual Computing team on the development of environment-aware drones, Intel says.

Intel's acquisition follows a similar move recently made by fellow chip-maker, Qualcomm. Qualcomm is diving into drones with the Snapdragon Flight platform, a system based on its Snapdragon 801 processor that aims to simplify UAV development.

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