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Intel unveils portable commercial drone, robot-hoverboard

The chip giant takes the stage at CES to unveil a new portable drone and platform for a self-balancing scooter that transforms into a robot.

Intel's new commercial drone, the YuneecTyphoon H.

This story is part of CES 2016. Our editors bring you complete CES 2016 coverage and scour the showroom floor for the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Looking to expand beyond chips, Intel is looking to the skies -- and robots.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday to unveil the Yuneec (pronounced "unique") Typhoon H, a commercial drone that uses Intel's RealSense 3D, a depth-capturing camera technology. The drone features collapsible propellers, retractable landing gear, a 4K camera, and a controller features a display that allows the pilot to see what the drone is seeing in real time.

"This drone is made with the end-user in mind," he said. "You can use it right out of the box. It's ready to fly."

The unveiling comes a day after the Santa Clara, California-based chip giant said it would acquire Ascending Technologies, a German drone maker that builds a handful of drones for professional and research tasks like surveying, industrial inspections or aerial photography.

Working with Ascending Technologies, Intel has also developed a collision avoidance system that allows the drone to navigate around any obstacle, Krzanich said.

The ultra-portable drone is expected to hit the market in the first half of this year at a price below $2,000, he said.


Intel also unveiled a platform for a personal robot that doubles as a self-balancing scooter.

Krzanich, who rode a hoverboard onto the stage at the beginning of his keynote, also unveiled a "personal transporter" -- a device that resembles a typical self-balancing scooter and transforms into a personal robot at the touch of a button.

The Segway Robot is an expandable open-platform robot that can be programmed to perform a variety of functions in a smart home environment. It features voice recognition and streaming video via a RealSense camera that helps the robot to maneuver around obstacles.

The robot is being promoted as an open framework that inventors can innovate upon to develop new uses and applications. They can also develop tools and software that can operate with the Segway.

"We believe this is the begiwnning of a new ecosystem, one where robots can actually be open platforms and become useful partners," Krzanich said.

The developer release is expected in the second half of 2016, Krzanich said.