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Drones

Yuneec Typhoon H drone gets new obstacle-avoiding powers from Intel

The hexacopter will soon be available with an Intel RealSense camera for steering it around obstacles while flying and filming.

Intel's RealSense technologies allow the Typhoon H to avoid and fly around obstacles.

Joshua Goldman/CNET


Yuneec's Typhoon H camera drone already had the ability to stop itself before colliding into large objects. But now with help from Intel RealSense technologies, it will avoid obstacles and keep moving right around them to get the shots you're after.

A factory-installed Intel RealSense R200 camera and an Intel Atom processor module will map the Typhoon H's surroundings in 3D, which it then uses to autonomously navigate its environment including rerouting itself around obstacles. Downward-facing sensors on the module also help stabilize flight indoors, too.

The $1,900 package (approximately £1,400 in the UK or AU$2,500 in Australia) is expected to ship by the end of July and includes the drone and Intel module, the Intel Atom-powered ST16 controller with a built-in 7-inch touchscreen, an ultracompact second controller called the Wizard, two batteries, extra propellers and a custom backpack. The Typhoon H is currently available without the Intel module for $1,300 (around £950 or AU$1,740).

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For many potential buyers, it might not be worth the $600 premium since the standard Typhoon H does have ultrasonic collision prevention to stop head-on crashes. On the other hand, Intel's demo of the RealSense capabilities at CES 2016 was one of the most impressive things we saw, and if you plan to use the drone's follow and tracking features a lot, having it reroute itself around obstacles is vital.

If you're already a Typhoon H owner or you're on the fence about spending more for the RealSense camera, Yuneec says an add-on module will be released in the near future. Pricing for the standalone module was not available.