Photo Credit: Intel

One of the more dramatic demonstrations at AUVSI Exponential in Dallas came from Intel, which demonstrated its Falcon 8+ drone at the keynote Tuesday.

As part of a demonstration on the show floor, the drone adapted to a changing payload in midair. Even the shifting of a nearly full water bottle attached to and removed from the landing gear in flight did not unbalance the eight-legged drone.

The Falcon 8+ is currently in production and will be distributed within the United States by TopCon Positioning. Its eight propellers give it stability against both high winds (12 m/s in GPS mode or 16 m/s in manual mode) and electromagnetic interference. Navigation is supplied by the AscTec Trinity Control unit, which offers triple redundant internal measurement for the IMU (barometer, compass, accelerometer, and gyroscopes). AscTec also worked on the 8+’s predecessor, the Falcon 8.

When completely empty, the 768x817x160mm drone weighs 1.2 kilograms. The camera and gimbal payload weighs 0.8 kg. Flight time can range from 16 to 26 minutes depending on payload and environmental conditions.

The control end of things is handled by Intel Cockpit, the proprietary control system with a 1080p viewing screen. Single-stick flight controls allow the user to operate it with one hand while a low-latency video link runs at 5.1GHz with up to 250mW.

Intel is one of the companies working with electrical motors and power supplies, in this case two Intel Powerpack 4000 smart batteries (doubled for redundancy). Each brushless motor adds 125W of maximum power to the unit, and powers an 8” diameter rotor. This combination of weight and power gives it an impressive weight-to-payload ratio that Intel says is the best in the industry.