Intel shutters drone arm – is the new era of aerial solutions over?

Intel has closed the hangar doors on its drone program, just victims of the in-house fly by?

The only thing left, but not unscathed, is the lackluster R.O.I. light show. Then it hit me, like a drone on the head, I certainly hope the idea isn’t to promote the brand, as this point, it might be an excellent opportunity to blame the COVID-19 and bow the F out gracefully. (No April fooling!) I assure you this is not to be interpreted as schadenfreude, or I’d be making up a bunch of graphs to publish on Twitter showing how many hundreds of millions Intel et al. lost to make my losing a $145 million of V.C. scrilla look like couch cushion change. C.R.E.A.M. Dollar, dollar bill y’all

Yuneec had pulled the plug on what one would call a great partnership a while ago, and still, no one knows what happened to the $60 to $100 million Intel “invested” in Yuneec? Some have suggested that the H.Q. move to the Ontario airport was to find some hangar space large enough to accommodate the size of the owner’s new jet? On a side note, something you the reader should consider before taking delivery of your shiny new business jet.   

After the sometimes Y split, Intel was left purveying the now-infamous Falcon 8, a system whose primary application for use is on I.R.S. Form 4562. I personally have never seen one fly in the wild, but to be fair, I have only seen one Yuneec Typhoon H fly in the wild. Come to think of it, I have seen more GoPro Karmas flying in the wild, but that is a story for another time. Maybe losing their drone expert C.E.O. (and D.A.C. industry co-chair), over the highly successful mentor program left them leaderless and twisting in the wind? Insitu had a very similar and equally successful mentor program go pear-shaped, but they were able to take it in stride. 

Anyway, the folks in Germany are ostensibly now on extended die Räumung. I Chose that translation specifically for its Wagnerin Twilight of the Gods/ Voices From The Bunker connotations. A more apt description could not be found, and so apropos for an industry suffering from such egregious and sometimes malicious regulatory bungling. It might even be comical if it was not so devastating. 

Ultimately, these high flying tech as a service company only has themselves to blame. One, the hubris came back to bite them all as they were all buying their own B.S. by the truckload. Two, anyone who thought common sense would prevail at the F.A.A., or they should let droneflaws from DJI take the lead on policy got paid their dividend. Three, you were playing nickel cellphone app keno with the coupon cutters while the P.R.C. was making the lay down in the high roller room. 

Everyone else can only remember all of the hundreds of millions of V.C. money that these companies blew through, very little was invested in any form of effective advocacy. A.U.V.S.I. is now slumming on the DJI payroll, Small UAV Coalition got duped even with F.A.A. ringers, and Hogan Lovell had to hang expensive pork chops around the necks of the long in the tooth B.D. crew. All of the money spent, and we’re not flying over people, or B.V.L.O.S., and the I.P.P. and test sites are playgrounds for the funded and the scraps haven’t scaled for the rest of us.

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Patrick Egan
Editor in Field, sUAS News Americas Desk | Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for an OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial RPA prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he serves as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association).