Yuneec USA Inc

Multiple reports are reaching us of between 50 and 70% of Yuneec USA Inc staff being laid off.

Parent company Yuneec International is a Chinese aircraft manufacturer owned by Tian Yu and based in Jinxi, Kunshan, a town in Jiangsu. They are better known for their man carrying electric aircraft. In 2010 the two-seat E430 won the Lindberg prize for electric aircraft at AirVenture.

In 2015 Intel invested $60 million in Yuneec International

“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,” Intel Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich said in a video announcing the investment by Intel Capital. “We’ve got drones on our roadmap that are going to truly change the world and revolutionise the drone industry.”

Intel and Yuneec will work on developing future products, the companies said Wednesday. Yuneec makes drones for consumers and industrial users, as well as manned electric aircraft.

Were all the wild estimates of drone sales banded about mid-2015 fake news? Has the market not reached sales targets? Were Yuneec over staffed?

Who shot JR?

How to craft a term for 2017 in the drone arena, has it been a bloodbath, levelling, coming of age or reality check? It is only March but between the end of last year and now we have seen GoPro, Autel, Parrot, 3DR and Zero Tech all laying off staff.

DJI have destroyed the lower end of the market where all those companies played. The Mavic is more expensive, just than the others but the feature set is way ahead. You only need to save a little more pocket money for much more machine.

If you are considering commercial work, the de facto entry-level drone is now the Phantom 4 Pro. DJI are also beginning to also own the higher end commercial space with their Matrice range. It would not surprise me at all if we saw the Inspire fade into history.

End users complain about DJI’s fast product cycle; the reality is they are leaving others behind never quite catching up. That is a good thing, they are pushing the technology forward fast.

Where now for Intel

They will continue to work with Yuneec HQ to develop platforms they can leverage for research and commercial use. The brains trust for the Intel Drone program is Ascending Technologies in Germany. To me by investing in Yuneec Intel was buying into a factory for AscTec to quickly scale swarms. This won’t change. New professional drones to match the Matrice will emerge.

Who is next on the chopping block?

Manufacturing has been skewered by DJI.  They won. But it’s not the only sector that is going to face reality in 2017.

Post production tools, either offline as offered by PIX4D, Agisoft and Bently or in the cloud, think Drone Deploy, PrecisionMapper and PropellerAero are all going to have to come good on promises of performance.

Markets which drone photogrammetry tools have aligned themselves with will determine who is around for a new years party to see 2018 in.


By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.