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Intel has acquired Ascending Technologies, a maker of smart Firefly drones that can see and sense the environment around them.

Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel, demonstrated the drones last year at the company’s keynote speech at the 2015 International CES. The drones were able to sense humans and other objects and avoid running into them.

In a blog post, Intel said it sees unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as an important computing platform of the future. That’s why the world’s biggest chipmaker is interested in them.

“With practical applications ranging from disaster response to infrastructure inspection to delivery of goods, UAVs offer an incredible opportunity for innovation across a multitude of industries,” said Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group, in a statement. “As a result, Intel is positioning itself at the forefront of this opportunity to increasingly integrate the computing, communications, sensor, and cloud technology required to make drones smarter and more connected.”

Ascending Technologies is a Krailling, Germany-based drone company that has focused on autopilot software, which gives the drones a sense-and-avoid system. The company uses Intel’s RealSense technology for sensing motion and capturing 3D information.


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