Intel invests $60m in Chinese drone maker

Posted on 27 Aug 2015 by Michael Cruickshank

Computer chip manufacturer Intel Corp has today announced a large investment in a Chinese company making small drones.

In a video statement Intel revealed that it plans to invest $60m into Yuneec International, as part of a development collaboration between the two companies.

“At Intel we believe in a smart and connected world. And one of the best ways to bring that smart and connected world to everyone and everywhere has been drones,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

“We’ve got drones on our road map that are going to truly change the world and revolutionize the drone industry.”

Yuneec itself was founded in Hong Kong 1999 and has since expanded in Mainland China as well as abroad.

It produces a number of electric aircraft, as well as quadcopter drones. The company prides itself on its easy-to-use products, with special modes allowing new users to fly their drones ‘out of the box’.

“At Yuneec we make the drones very easy to use […] like Intel we focus on the user experience and the best technology,” said Tian Yu, CEO Yuneec International

There is no word yet what particular projects Intel plans to work on with Yuneec , however it is likely attempting to position itself as a major player is the new growth sector that is quadcopter drones.

Already Intel has invested in two other drone companies: Airware, a drone software company and PrecisionHawk, a sensor hardware manufacturer and data analysis platform.

New capital for drone makers

This announcement by Intel of a further investment into commercial drones is just one of several major investments made by private capital into these firms.

Last week another Chinese drone maker, Ehang raised $42 million in its series B funding round led by GP Capital.

As well, better known rival SZ DJI Technology Co, maker of the popular Phantom II drone, raised $75 million from Accel Partners in May.

All of these investments come at a time when major tech firms see consumer drones as a new product category, with a wide range of possible uses, including for photography, delivery, and defence.