Intel RealSense, which made low-cost, plug-and-play cameras and sensors for robots, is being shut down. CRN was first to report this news, which Intel has confirmed. Intel said it wants to focus on its core chipmaking business.
“We are winding down our RealSense business and transitioning our computer vision talent, technology and products to focus on advancing innovative technologies that better support our core businesses and IDM 2.0 strategy,” an Intel spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CRN. “We will continue to meet our commitments to our current customers and are working with our employees and customers to ensure a smooth transition.”
The Intel RealSense portfolio consists of depth cameras, LiDAR sensors, an open-source SDK and more. Some of the capabilities relevant to robotics companies include collision avoidance, object recognition, volumetric measurement and SLAM tracking. Intel RealSense worked with robotics companies such as Aethon, Brain Corp, Double Robotics, RightHand Robotics, Simbe and more. Aerial drone companies also use Intel RealSense.
Kent Tibbils is vice president of marketing at ASI, a distributor that sells RealSense products. He told CRN that the products didn’t sell well. “There were only a few that were buying multiple units, like 10 to 40 at a time,” he said. “It was definitely very nichey and very specialized for the general channel. It wasn’t a huge product.”
This news is surprising, but two weeks ago Sagi Ben Moshe, head of RealSense and GM of Intel’s Emerging Growth and Incubation group, said he was leaving the company. After 10 years at Intel, he wanted to start the next chapter of his career.
Intel RealSense was founded in 2015. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recently said he wants Intel to reclaim the chipmaking crown. RealSense could be a potential distraction to achieving that goal.
Again, Intel said it would meet its commitments for current customers. But the question going forward is what company will fill the void left by Intel? Tangram Vision, a San Francisco-based startup specializing in sensor integration and optimization for robots, recently compiled this 2021 perception sensor industry map. It offers a look at some alternatives to Intel RealSense.