Is 3DR ever going to sell the Solo platform separate from the carriage?

I mean, I'd like to buy just the guts, and put them into my own airframe. Seems like this would be a good way to compete with DJI - you could get a lot more 3DR platforms out there that way, on airframes of all shapes and sizes, and let your platform users do the bulk of the airframe development. 3DR would still make their own airframes, but Solo Platform users wouldn't be restricted to whatever you offered, and you wouldn't have to develop a number of airframes to please everyone. Your airframe inventory would be lower, but your overall market share would increase.

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I don't think so.  If you look at this blog post from ChrisA, it looks like 3DR is mostly getting out of the "DIY" market.  I can't speak for ChrisA or 3DR but I think they want to do fewer things better.

On the upside, a lot of other smaller companies have sprung up in the past couple of years trying to fill the gap.  Companies like and the makers of the NAVIO2.  I think what's important is that we turn to these smaller manufacturers for the innovative autopilot hardware we need.

Actually, we will release a stand-alone autopilot/wireless package in 2015 that has all the features of the Solo platform with even more power. It's for developers, consumers and VARs (we don't really think of it as a "DIY" market anymore, since it's a cloud-connected platform designed for advanced autonomy, computer vision and data analysis, rather than hobby use).

This will not be the same hardware as the current Solo, but it will be compatible. Like Solo, it will be based on the Dronecode full-stack software platforms and will work with both Dronekit and the Solo SDK.

As Randy says, our open source HW and SW policy has achieved its hoped-for result and there are now many manufacturers making Dronecode-compatible autopilots for the DIY market.  There's a lot of innovation in that space, and the price/performance continues to improve at an incredible pace. WIth our own hardware, 3DR is moving towards higher-performance platforms, which are aimed primarily at prosumer and enterprise markets, but on the software side we do everything we can to ensure that products and companies of all sizes and target markets can thrive in this ecosystem.  

Cool! Thanks for the reply, that's exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for.

Now, is "we will release in 2015" a typo? Because there's not a whole lot of 2015 left.

Yes, sorry. 2016 ;-)

Hi Chris,

Glad to hear about it. But can we still use the Arducopter firmware with these new 3dr stand-alone autopilots?

Chris you say " WIth our own hardware, 3DR is moving towards higher-performance platforms, which are aimed primarily at prosumer and enterprise markets". Is there any real effort going into solving the present micro vibration problems on Solo. I want to buy into Solo/Pixhawk2 Cablecam etc as soon as gimbal picture quality is assured rather than build my own platform if possible.

That is great to hear, am I correct to assume it will be something along the lines of the Snapdragon Flight robotics development platform?

It's great to hear an official response on the upcoming hardware release.  As a fervent 3DR supporter and avid APM user I have been reluctant to use anything else for my projects, but lets face it, the Pixhawk has been nearing the end of the line for some time now.  To get the features that many are wanting on their custom setups requires a cacophony of hardware add on that make it very difficult to keep everything looking clean.  Of late I have been using the Navio+ and Erle Brain for my more recent projects.  However, both of these are still lacking in features and simplicity when compared against the Solo hardware.   

I have kept up with what info is pushed on Github on the upcoming hardware, but i have stopped anticipating its release.  I recently purchased a solo and gutted it for its hardware to install on a larger build.   Is there any documentation on board schematics denoting pinouts etc?  Any help that can be given towards speeding up adapting the solo to other frames would be greatly appreciated and shared.  While it may not be the most practical solution, I am determined to give it a go.  So far I have gotten everything needed removed, and have already printed a custom case for the hardware.  Whats needed now is to figure out what I am going to do for running higher voltages to the board and connecting the ESCs'.  

Some have stated that this is a rather pricey undertaking, but it really isn't given what can be gained for around $1k.  If one was to calculate the cost of a high end flight controller, GPS, Telemetry, HD downlink and quality RC transmitter it is approximate to the cost of a Solo.  I know this voids any warranty, but I have been trouble shooting, fixing and rebuilding my own hardware for some time now anyhow.  

First look at the Snapdragon dev kit. (I am looking forward to the ARF kit)

It looks like a functional Snapdragon Flight quad will be demoed at CES (early Jan '16). Perhaps, this could leap-frog the Pixhawk2 + iMX6.... Then again, they can simultaneously serve different market segments. 

Hey Todd, interesting that you have parted-out a Solo.  I actually predicted this would happen if the guts of the Solo were not sold as a stand-alone system.  You are right. $1000 for what you get isn't really bad at all, and you can even sell off the ESC's, motors, battery, charger and shell to recoup some of the cost. I would think you could even get up to $500 back, meaning you're getting the avionics and hand controller for $500, which is an absolute steal.  I was going to do it myself but just never got around to it.  Also, the hand controller ergonomics isn't perfect for me.  Actually, that's the biggest reason I haven't done it.

Be careful using the PH2.  I recently installed one on a quad with 15" props and hard mounted it, assuming the internal vibration isolation in the cube would work.  It does not work with the lower RPM of the bigger props.  Vibration levels were actually very high.

Looking forward to following anything you share with this undertaking. Are you going to use the hardware on another quad? Or go hex/octo? (hoping for the latter) 

Best of luck!

Very cool, I would also be interested in hearing how this pans out for you.


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