Why Intel Just Dropped Cash On A $10 Million Bet On Drones


Neal Ungerleider

November 7, 2014

If you own a drone company that wants to fly unmanned aircrafts for farms and insurance companies, this is your year. PrecisionHawk just announced that Intel Capital is joining a $10 million funding round to help build out future iterations of the company’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and cloud backend. PrecisionHawk, whose plans to use drones to take pictures of disaster areas for insurance companies and monitor livestock disease from the air have been covered in Fast Company before, manufactures both UAVs and a sophisticated sensor set which allows operators to gauge everything from water quality to detecting objects under vegetation. “Drones hold the promise of revolutionizing many industries, some new and some very old, like farming,” Intel’s Jerry Bautista said in a press release.

Earlier this year, another UAV company named Airware raised $25 million from a group led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Airware’s main work is on hardware, operating systems, and cloud services for unmanned aircraft. In a recent telephone interview, Kleiner Perkins’ Mike Abbott explained to Fast Company that Airware and similar companies are valuable because they enable users on the ground to get data such as insect damage in their fields. “They just want the data from the drones,” he said, adding that he sees the long-term goal of making UAVs as automated as possible for users.

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