As a reporter in the industry you hear thing day in and day out but this one I found concerning.  As a hobbyist and reporter in the industry, I have found to like the direction of Chris Anderson and his views on what the DIY Drone is suppose to be and with elegant articulation and wonderful presentations he has built a company from nothing and added jobs in California not a few but hundreds.  This was why it was such a surprise this week when everyone was talking that Sir Richard Branson purchase interest in 3dRobotics.  To many this would be great but hold on not so fast.  No one is talking about the Purchase of a UAV company in Maine by close affiliates of Branson some 3 weeks ago.  You might be saying why does this matter well anyone that has been covering DRONES has been paying attention to VikingUAS which is based in Maine and to many is a sleeper company on the other side of the country.  These guys have been developing sUASs such as mulitrotors for US Special Forces since 2004 and developed high tech tactical solutions  for security firms around the world....these guys are covert to say the least they provided aircraft of which I flew in covert conservation operation in Africa.   The other Chris is also known as the "Prodigy" and compared to that of Burt Rutan for development of small tactical UAVs.  Many of you know Burt Rutan has a relationship with that of Sir Richard Branson so could there be a connection????????.  So what does this mean in the inner circle of aviation reporting what we are seeing is the demise of 3dR?  time will tell.  It was reported that VikingUAS developed multirotors for the National Association of Technical Investigators in San Diego a few months ago of which they outfitted with 3dRobotics flight controllers,  it is obvious they have insiders in 3dR. or a very friendly relationship...WHY.....well they had 3dR employees go over and work on aircraft for them at the convention with the likes of federal governments elite to name a few right under the nose of Mr. Anderson...... I hope.......  It was so crazy that my close friend and reporter on law enforcement deploying Drones sent me a photo via his iPhone of them working on a controller for VikingUAS at the symposium.   To make it even worse last month it was reported on the wire that VikingUAS had developed in advance of 3dR a android based flight system off of Andropilot of which has recently met initial FAA Compliance by the FAA and the worse thing is the individual that developed it for them was hired by 3dR .....can you say RED FLAG....Chris.....  So lets put the dots together.  Sir Richard Brandson buys VikingUAS "We Assume" and the "Prodigy" and his engineering team, the FAA Compliance, their Section 333 Air Worthiness exemption  that has been posted everywhere for both fixed and multirotor and now he buys a significant interest in 3dRobotics that makes electronics but doesn't have military and or have anything FAA Compliant?  I would say based on that the next article everyone will be reading it that the other Chris is now replacing the existing Chris and well all our pricing we have been able to enjoy will be gone.......this is only my thoughts and opinions and I hope for all of us it isn't true.........

This is what sucks about big business, how a guy can start something from the ground up and be taken out at the knees.  Sir Richard Branson is like Elon Musk they are billionaires and the sky and space to some would be the limit but it isn't for these guys they have the world and a bunch of little guys like 3dR don't have a chance its all about the dollar and nothing more.  I would send and e-mail to Mr. Anderson asking him not to sell out....on all us..........checking out......TheReporter

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  • My eyes are bleeding from this as well.

    Sheesh, how about forming paragraphs ?

  • As with always, the comments are better than the conspiracy. If there was a conspiracy. Scratch that, is there even a conspiracy in there? Lemme explore around in here for a while and try to dig up some sense *grabs mining helmet and pickaxe*

    • Don't forget your breadcrumbs.....
  • nicely worded , nice as in full of words, less content,  and not sure what your point was  and   to the other points we might as well work together thanks. can I have my 5 minutes back

    • No time back refunds. Only in store credit.
  • All I have to say is Makerbot.  Well maybe a bit more.  Makerbot 'WAS" an open source project that received a large injection of capitol from a venture capitalist.  Products started flying out the door, money was being made, and then suddenly it went "closed source" or IP.  Don't think it can't happen, because it can.  Money and power corrupt, and there is no way to tell what happens or which way someone will go before it happens.  Hopefully 3dr stays open source, and the Viking ops stay closed source with IP rights and FAA certification.  That will keep the benefits for the community, and allow the investors to make some money.  So if you want to use the "open source (viking)" software which will probably be the same, you pay to play and get the FAA cert, if you want to remain in the hobby part of the field, research, or amateur you can still use the open source version.

    • Well it obviously wouldn't be a good thing if the likes of 3dr was bought and buried for whatever reason, but there's a big difference between that and makerbot.  

      Makerbot was producing commercial open source products, then when it was bought they decided to make their *new* products closed source.

      3dr doesn't produce open source products, they produce commercial products from open source projects, while contributing a lot to those opensource projects.  Pixhawk was designed by a swiss uni research lab not 3dr, and there are several other hardware vendors with absolutely no tie to 3dr that are producing flight controllers that run the apm software.  The ardupilot software, which is the real IP and black magic, is GPL and can never be taken closed source - ANY work derived from it must also be opensource.

      Any danger from this bizarrely written 'conspiracy' would be that the expertise that writes the black magic is 'bought' and taken underground.  Although Rob sounds OK with that as long as they give him lots of money :)

      But I would imagine that even if the current core developers left the project, I'm sure it would continue to thrive somehow, albeit with a bit of rebuilding of skills first.

    • Go on Netflix.  Search for a documentary called "We Make Things."  Its about the 3d printer revolution, and the open source community.  Ironically you will see a clip of Mr. Anderson in it.  

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