Roger Sollenberger's Posts (50)

Sort by
3D Robotics

3689683868?profile=originalJoin us at 11am PST on Tuesday, March 22nd, for an in-depth seminar on getting the shot, led by one of the world’s foremost experts on aerial cinema, Colin Guinn. This webinar will cover all you need to know about creating and capturing incredible aerial video, with advice and technical tips for absolute beginners all the way up to seasoned pros.


  • How to get the best aerial video out of your drone
  • Smart Shots: Their history; how they work; and where they’re going
  • Feature-by-feature comparison of Solo with other mainstream drones
  • Becoming a pro w/ multipoint Cable cam: Tips & tricks


Colin has a decade of experience building, flying and filming with drones, and is one of the most interviewed experts on UAV technology and design in the world. He developed the market’s first sub-pixel stabilized camera gimbal for UAS, and has provided high-end aerial filming services for real estate, marketing and advertising firms, government users and the entertainment industry, including many Hollywood movies and TV shows. As Chief Revenue Officer at 3DR Colin is responsible for strategic product development as well as global sales and marketing. His name is on the Solo patent.

Space is limited and we expect to hit capacity, so secure your spot! SIGN UP HERE.

Read more…
3D Robotics


Quick update to the program: The webinar will now be led by Marty Herrin, Chief of the Williamson County, TX, Hazmat team, and John Buell, peace officer in Austin.

This is the first session of 3DR’s new enterprise webinar series detailing drone use for commercial purposes. The webinar will take place on January 28 and explore the many uses of drones in public safety. And because we’re not anywhere near experts in public safety, ourselves — just drones — we’re happy to play host and let the experts do the talking.

They’ll focus in detail on public safety applications, using real-world examples pulled from their experience. Marty and John will take your questions as well as discuss:

o   Relevant fire, first-responder and search and rescue applications

o   How drone technology can enhance your existing toolkit and techniques

o   How “sensors in the sky” can make your teams more responsive and effective

We invite you to join us on the 28th! All registered guests will receive helpful documentation from the experts to keep as a resource after the webinar. Stay tuned for future webinars to include surveying, construction, and other applications.

Click here to register.

Looking forward to this!


Read more…
3D Robotics

Solo and Gimbal Update from 3DR


The Solo Gimbal is out there in the wild, and we’re seeing some stunning footage you all are shooting. That’s awesome.

As we head into the end of the year, we wanted to share a few things that are coming soon.

The gimbal production line has been cranking without major hiccups. Limited availability of Solo and the gimbal should soon be a thing of the past.

In terms of software, over the course of the summer we’ve been rolling out features and quality improvements, and there’s more of that to come.

In the latest (first week of October) release, you’ll notice a few key things. First, we’ve improved the gimbal stabilization performance. Your Smart Shots should be smoother and more stable than ever, and the gimbal system as a whole will be even more reliable. You’ll also notice that the radio link is more robust, allowing you to fly with confidence in more places at greater range. Solo will lose link less often when it is close to you (within 1000-foot range), and your overall range should be noticeably longer. GPS lock has improved, too; you should get GPS lock faster than before, especially after your first flight in a new location.

Overall, you should notice a nice big step in the overall robustness of the Solo user experience.

We’re also rolling out more GoPro control features. You’ve been able to start and stop recording on the GoPro already. (Pro-tip: In addition to start/stop record from the, clicking in the pitch paddle on the controller starts and stops GoPro control.) In the middle of this month, we will also roll out mode-switching: This will allow you to switch from video to photo mode during flight straight from the app.

You can now create a user account via Facebook or Google login. This new login method underpins a more advanced user and support system. We have improved our automatic log analysis so that if you should ever need to submit a trouble ticket, we’ll be able to diagnose your issue more quickly and more accurately. Our support team is now using tools that automatically parse your Solo’s logs to help identify problems, doing the work a human engineer once had to do manually.

We call this system BlackBox, and it’s pretty slick. The user accounts will help us track your system over time so that the log analysis tools work even better. And don’t worry, we won’t be collecting data if you don’t want us to—you can control this via a setting in the app. Again, the overall point of this work is to keep you and your Solo up and running, and confirm for you that we stand behind Solo and your experience with it.

By the way, we have even more in store for our November release. Tipping our hand a little bit, we’ll be rolling out finer control of GoPro settings early on in that month, giving you complete control of the GoPro during flight.

There you have it. In summary, we’ve got our complete Solo and gimbal system out there, and we’re improving the user experience in big steps by increasing overall robustness and adding new features. Thanks for choosing Solo, and thanks for choosing 3DR.

Read more…
3D Robotics


This is the first episode of our new Life After Gravity podcast series. Every other week we’ll deliver conversations with leading thinkers and personalities from the drone world and beyond. We’ll start close to home: This week I speak with 3DR CEO Chris Anderson, who offers insight into the past, present and future of 3DR and the drone industry at large with inimitable style. Listen any time on iTunes/iOS or on Soundcloud.

Read more…
3D Robotics

3689665718?profile=originalOn September 12, California's bill SB 142, which will greatly limit drone flights in the state, will sit before Governor Jerry Brown. The bill is intended to protect citizens' privacy but goes too far, allowing anyone to prosecute any flight for any reason under 350 feet over his or her private property. The bill has already passed the state house and senate, and we need your help (California residents in particular) to help stop it from becoming law.

SB 142 goes too far for a few reasons. It makes even unintentional violations of private airspace illegal. The bill has been dramatically changed from its original form: In its original wording this was a pretty reasonable bill that required plaintiffs to prove that a pilot committed a combination of violations: The flight was too low (under 350 feet) over private property; the pilot knew they were trespassing on private property; the pilot intended to capture pictures or videos of people on the private property; and those images would be considered a violation of privacy by a reasonable person. However, the bill has since been revised to simply prohibit ALL flights under 350 feet over private property.

This bill is bad for both recreational and commercial use, and companies like Google, Amazon and GoPro are with 3D Robotics in opposition. Not only does SB 142 open the door for excessive litigation for recreational pilots, it also means that in order to prosecute a pilot for a privacy violation you don't even need to prove that the drone was outfitted with a camera -- let alone that the pilot was knowingly flying over private property and knowingly capturing images of somebody or something. As long as you're flying under 350 feet and that flight happens to cross over private property for any reason, you'd be breaking the law.

This obviously could lead to trouble for well-intentioned hobbyists flying purely for their own enjoyment. It also dramatically restricts available airspace in the state: Drones being used for research or delivery, for instance, would be limited to a 150-foot banner of free airspace above 350 feet and below 500 feet. This will stifle innovation, and trammel a nascent and incredibly promising industry that already has deep roots in California.

YOU CAN HELP! Please contact Jerry Brown -- -- and let him know that SB 142 goes too far.

You can read the bill here:


Read more…
3D Robotics


We’re happy to announce the release of the latest and greatest update of the Solo app, for both iOS and Android—release 1.1.0. While this update isn’t necessary for Solo to work, it is necessary for the Solo Gimbal to work. And don’t forget: In order to unlock full access to your GoPro through the gimbal, you’ll need to update your GoPro; instructions on how to do that can be found right in the Solo app. Plus this new release offers some other significant improvements, so we highly recommend you update all components of your Solo system.

The new release is available in the App store today, and will be available on Google Play this weekend. Here’s a quick rundown.


Solo Gimbal

As you’ve likely heard by now, Solo Gimbals are shipping this week! Please note: Your gimbal will not work unless you make this update. Here’s what you’ll get from your gimbal with this update:

  • Smart Shots are tightly integrated with the gimbal. This unlocks automated camera pointing, an exclusive Solo feature that delivers perfect framing even with complex and dynamic shots. For example, in Orbit, Selfie and Follow the gimbal automatically keeps the subject in frame as Solo moves up and down and in and out—whether moving under your control or automatically. In Cable cam, the gimbal works with Solo’s onboard computer and the autopilot to move the camera smoothly and precisely from your first frame to the last on your cable—just push “play” in the app, and Solo will handle all of it. But because Cable cam locks Solo onto a track, you’re also free to control the gimbal yourself—use the left stick to pan and tilt the camera as you fly up and down the cable.
  • The gimbal also unlocks access to GoPro camera control. In addition to being able to start/stop recording by clicking the left paddle on the controller, you can now even start and stop GoPro recording straight from the app.
  • Support for updating your gimbal’s firmware as more new features and improvements roll out.

Return Home

By popular request, we’ve now made it possible for you to adjust the altitude that Solo will climb to when it returns home. If you set a high enough altitude, Solo will be more likely to fly over any obstacles (within reason—not the Burj Khalifa or anything) on its way home. We also increased the default return home altitude from 15m to 25m and added a new safety measure—now Solo will always pop up 10m when you hit return home, even if you’re above your specified return home altitude.

Major App UI overhaul

We’ve also made some pretty substantial aesthetic and functional updates to the app itself.

  • The Smart Shots menu is easier to find (on the bottom left now)
  • In setting up an Orbit, you can now use the map to choose the object you want to focus on. If a data connection isn’t available where you’re shooting, remember that you can pre-load the map of your flying area before you get there by opening the map while connected to the internet. This will “cache” the map so it will be available if you’re flying without a data connection.
  • There’s a new Follow feature called “Look At Me,” where Solo stays still but moves the camera to keep you in the frame.
  • New home screen offers easier access to settings, support, etc., and displays your local weather to help you decide if the conditions are good for flying.
  • Smart Shots UI update
  • French and Spanish language support
  • FAQs available in app (find these in the support section).

Battery Failsafes

We’ve changed some of the low battery alerts with this update, giving you a little more heads-up when you’re running out of juice. In the older versions, the battery alerts you at 25% capacity, then again at 10% and then returns home around 6%. Now it sends alerts at 25% and 15%, returning home at 10% capacity or if the voltage drops below 14 V, whichever happens first. Solo will beep loudly to warn you of a low battery. You also have the option to cancel the return home battery failsafe by pressing the FLY button; however, if you let the battery get to zero, Solo won’t fly and you’ll permanently damage your battery.

Be aware of your location: If Solo’s flying really far from your home point, it won’t be able to Return Home if you’ve only got 10% battery remaining.

Miscellaneous Updates

  • Sololink now supports the PAL video format on GoPro
  • Crash detector
    • If Solo detects that it is upside down on the ground for two seconds, the motors will stop
    • Reminder: You can always activate emergency shutoff by holding A+B+Pause. Be careful not to do this in the air because the motors will stop.
  • Controller alerts
    • When motion is detected on startup
    • When controller battery runs low
    • Battery failsafe (see above)
    • If the stick calibration on the gimbal control paddle is bad, the controller will prompt you to contact Tech Support for instructions on how to calibrate it. This alert will say “Controller Stick Error.”
  • Behind the scenes
    • GPS alarm: If your GPS cable is not plugged in, Solo plays an alarm to let you know
    • Logging improvements
    • More power: The maximum continuous current the Solo is allowed to draw was increased to 42A to improve altitude-hold performance when flying fast upwind
    • App Security: A prompt to change your Sololink password, and other under-the-hood improvements
    • iOS App runs best on iOS version 8.4, with support for later versions on the way. iOS 8.0 required. To get 8.4 on your device, go to Settings -> General -> Software Update
    • In a few weeks, we’ll offer support for iOS 9 beta.
Read more…
3D Robotics

3689659281?profile=originalQUESTION OF THE WEEK

Each week this newsletter curates (hopefully) some of the most interesting drone stories from around the world. But at 3DR, our mission statement is “Help people see their world from above.” Key word: people.

There are obviously many ways to see our world from above, both recreationally and commercially. Drones can support an array of camera types, as well as other sensors that deliver imagery beyond the visual spectrum. This means that obviously many, many cool and interesting individual use cases (and photos and videos) go without attracting media coverage each week. So this week I’d like to know how you folks are using—or planning to use—your drones. Photos? Videos? Racing? Gathering data? Tell me about your use cases in the comments section below—and who knows, they may make it into next week’s Download.

And now, the links that mattered this week:



Following an incident where a personal drone grounded a firefighting plane—which cost the US Forest Service $10,000—California lawmakers are introducing legislation to make sure it doesn’t happen again. State representatives have proposed that flying a drone near firefighting activities should carry a fine as well as a potential five years of jail time. (Ars Technica)

Roll over, Saint Bernards: The Swiss postal service has partnered with Matternet to test autonomous drone delivery in the Alps. The drones are intended to deliver emergency supplies over the rugged Swiss terrain in the wake of natural disasters, as well as make other high-priority deliveries, such as lab tests. (Gizmodo)

Drones help pave a new entrance to San Francisco. The billion-dollar project in its final phase shut down Golden Gate traffic over the weekend. (3DR)

The first phase of construction at North Dakota’s groundbreaking “Grand Sky” drone business park is set to begin this week. The first step: A fence. “It’s not very glamorous and it’s not going to be backhoes and bulldozers and things getting knocked down and built,” said Thomas Swoyer Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Corp. “But that security fence is a very symbolic element to go up because it will really define the park space and give us the ability to control our own access to it.” (AP)

A drone reportedly had a near miss with a US Air jet making an approach to Charlotte International Airport. (ABC)

The Philippines granted its first-ever commercial drone license to survey and mapping company SRDC Consulting. (GMA Network)



It’s no secret that Japan has been using drones in agriculture for several years. But here’s a look inside that industry from the Financial Times. 

In stark contrast to the choked traffic by the Golden Gate, this weekend also marked California’s first international drone racing competition. “It’s just exploding right now, it’s just going crazy,” said Rob Wright of Los Angeles. “For people who are bored, sitting at their PlayStation who want to finally get out and do something real.” (Daily News)

Here’s a cursory look at what’s going on in the nascent drone investing space. It’s a projected $91 billion industry, but still in its infancy, which means there’s currently a dearth of available stocks outside of big players like AeroVironment. (Investor Place)

Last year as estimated 1,200 rhinos were slaughtered in South Africa. Drone technology might offer a way to stop the poaching by identifying hot spots and tracking poachers with night vision. (PRI)

In York, Canada, police will use drones to more efficiently map the scenes of accidents. Currently they use a “detailed electronic mapping process,” which is time-intensive; drones performing the same function will get traffic moving again. (The Star)



Pardon me this quick hometown shoutout: Google is now testing driverless cars here in Austin. Well, one car. Not sure if this is the type of weird intended in the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra, but I guess it’ll do. (The Next Web)

At Comic-Con, a flying Snoopy drone hunts the skies for the Red Baron. (Popular Science)

And from the same guy’s workshop, an R2D2 drone. (Gadget Show)



ICYMI: Here’s NatGeo’s roundup of last week’s winning photos from the global aerial photo contest they sponsored with Dronestagram. Among the winners is “a selfie with sharks.”

There’s nothing wrong with a little shameless self-promotion, right? Maybe not if it’s this cool. Check out these pretty remarkable stills taken this week from a Solo in Norway. (3DR)

Read more…
3D Robotics


To get the Drone Download delivered to your inbox weekly, subscribe here.

Question of the week

This week Atlanta, Georgia, banned the use of drones within city limits. They cited the helipad at the governor’s mansion as one reason: Since per the FAA all airspace within five miles of airports is off limits, the airspace within five miles of this helipad would also theoretically be off limits. Drone enthusiasts claim the citywide ban will restrict egregiously the commercial potential drones hold for the city—delivery being one obvious example.

However, the law might also set a precedent for blanket bans elsewhere. Other municipalities might be able to extend this logic, if the law is upheld, to any area where there’s an officially recognized helipad. If so, such a ban could theoretically cover huge swaths of urban and suburban areas; for instance, wherever there’s a medevac pad on a hospital roof.

The Atlanta law comes on the heels of the passage of prohibitive anti-privacy drone legislation in Florida, signed into law last month by governor Rick Scott. (It’s likely the Florida law will be challenged in court, as journalists claim it infringes on First Amendment rights.) Other municipalities around the country have passed similar laws regarding drones and privacy.

I wonder what your thoughts are about the rise of these laws. Do you foresee a legal creep—could they block airspace, at least temporarily, in practically every American city? Does the FAA have a place and an interest to intervene—if so, will they? Or are these simply more growing pains for a technology just entering its adolescence?

Leave your comments below!

And now, the links that mattered this week:


The city of Atlanta issued a blanket ban on drones, citing in part the airspace around the helipad on the governor’s mansion. (CBS 46)

In Maine, a drone helped firefighters rescue two boys stranded in the middle of a river. The boys were tubing when the water proved too much; the drone delivered a lifejacket while firefighters executed the rescue. (ABC)

The Chinese Air Force used a drone to survey an earthquake-damaged rural area in Xinjiang province, where reportedly six people were killed. It’s the first time the Chinese Air Force has publicly used a drone on such a mission. Xinjiang is a politically sensitive region in China, home to the Muslim Uighur population. (Reuters)

A Rhode Island search and rescue team has been using a drone to aid in their search for a missing boater. (WPRI)

Culture and commentary

The Verge partnered with the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College to publish a comprehensive database detailing the first 500 companies to receive a commercial exemption from the FAA. It’s an informative look at the lay of the land as it is today. The rise has been truly exponential—at the beginning of this year, only a dozen companies had been granted exemptions. (The Verge)

The tech sector is traditionally dominated by men. Perhaps it won’t be so in the drone world: Fortune profiles four women who are helping to shape the drone industry.

The PBS Newsblog mulls how drones could replace workers on American farms. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group, says agriculture could account for 80 percent of all commercial drone use. The FAA has approved 50 exemptions for farm use since January.

Thanks to the low costs of labor and production, and a workforce that’s becoming increasingly skilled in engineering, Mexico is poised to become the drone capital of Central America. We have manufacturing facilities in Tijuana, and can attest that the country is certainly on the bleeding edge. Additionally, the Mexican government is using drones to monitor high-crime neighborhoods as well as some of their state-owned pipelines. (Fusion)

Ghana is set to deploy the largest number of drones ever mustered for a humanitarian effort. The mission—a delivery system for medical supplies—is being led by the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association and Ausley Associates Inc. (MAMA), an engineering and consulting firm based in Maryland. The drones could do a lot of good in densely populated Ghana: The country is the size of Oregon, with a population close to that of California. (UAS Magazine)

High tech

This week NASA revealed a fixed-wing prototype drone for use in collecting high-resolution photos of the Martian surface. The drone is scheduled to be included in the 2022 Mars mission. (GeekWire)

Drone burgers: A man is reportedly trying to help the homeless by attaching hamburgers to his drone and dropping them on people around San Francisco. In his video he flies around the city, “looking for people who might be hungry.” Would you like flies with that? … (The Telegraph)

But in the interest of fairness, here’s another take on that story. In addition to a pointed sociological critique, this article points out that the video might just be a misguided viral ad for Burger King. (The Independent)

Camera technology and drone technology are on converging courses. This week GoPro made headlines with the release of the GoPro Hero 4 “Session”—a smaller and lighter version of their popular line of action cameras. The company reports it’s pursuing the production of a quadcopter, though its stock has taken a hit this year, dropping 18%. Here’s a half hour-long interview with CEO Nick Woodman about the future of GoPro. (USA Today)

Drone on the Fourth of July

A man in New York was served with a summons after flying a drone over the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest on Coney Island. The contest made history—the reigning champion 6 years running lost to a newbie, Matt Stonie, who weighs all of 130 pounds. Not that I watch that stuff or anything… (NY Daily News)

Tennessee has passed a law making it illegal to fly a drone through a public fireworks display. Interestingly, the same law also makes it “illegal to use an unmanned aircraft to intentionally capture an image of an individual or event at an open-air event venue ‘wherein more than one hundred individuals are gathered for a ticketed event.’” (WKRN)

Public Service Announcement: Strapping fireworks to your drone is a bad idea. (Wired)

Photo and video

Here’s an extremely well-curated collection of drone videos from around the world, showcasing the amazing versatility of this technology: From London’s underground tunnels to an underground jungle to the underside of the world—Antarctica. (Wired)

And here are the incredible winning selections from Dronestagram’s second annual aerial photography contest. (AdWeek)

Read more…
3D Robotics


This week we’ve rolled out some important updates that will go a long way toward making your Solo experience even more smooth and easy. This includes updates for both Solo and the Solo app—remember, the Solo app will do all of the update work wirelessly, without any need to connect to Solo with cables. For a walkthrough of that workflow, see the bottom of this post.

Here’s a quick summary of what the new updates include and what that means to you.

Solo 1.05

This is an update for Solo’s onboard software, basically an update for the copter itself. Mostly this round involves tuning and improving Solo’s GPS functionality. With these updates, Solo has better GPS acquisition, which means good things for your in-flight experience. Here’s what we’ve done.

GPS_Ready_Prompt_ScreenSolo will now fly better in environments where GPS signal may be less accessible or more sensitive, such as areas with peripheral objects like buildings and trees that can interfere with reception. But even with this improvement you’ll want to be mindful when you choose where to fly. Please stick to wide open places without nearby trees or structures that could occlude or interfere with the satellite signals Solo relies on for its GPS lock. This is especially important for new users who might not yet be comfortable flying in FLY:Manual mode.

Speaking of which, Solo now detects when GPS starts to decay and automatically switches you into FLY:Manual mode when the signal drops below a certain threshold. (In FLY:Manual, Solo automatically holds its altitude for you, but you’re responsible for controlling its position in space; it’s like Solo’s on a skating rink in the air.) The Solo controller will vibrate and let you know when you have good GPS again, and will automatically put you back into regular FLY mode. If you’re flying for a while without GPS, Solo won’t automatically switch you back into FLY; however, the controller will vibrate and let you know the option is again available.

These updates also improve Solo’s GPS checks. Solo measures GPS quality and ensures the lock is strong and steady before takeoff. If it doesn’t have a good signal, the controller will say “Searching for GPS”; if you really want to fly, you can flip into FLY:Manual, but be aware that Solo’s home location will be set in the first spot where it gets a good GPS lock.

And remember: When GPS is lost, neither “pause” nor “return home” functions are available because they’re position-based. For this reason, we strongly urge all users to spend time in an open space getting comfortable with FLY:Manual*. This way, if you fly into an environment with poor GPS reception, you’ll still feel comfortable controlling Solo.

Lastly, if Solo’s in Land mode—such as if battery is running low or you’ve hit RTL—you can reverse its descent just by increasing the throttle. This means that if you want to break control of an auto-land or a failsafe, you have the option to—but be careful and always pay attention to what Solo tells you, because you might be in a failsafe mode and not know it.

iOS update 1.01

We’ve also made a couple of important updates to the iOS app. Perhaps most importantly, the live video feed sometimes wouldn’t work for some users; but now it will.

Also, we’ve fixed the bugs responsible for app crashes. Do remember, though, that there’s nothing wrong with the copter if the app crashes—Solo will just pause in place and hover while you restart the app.

Android 1.0.1

We’ve updated Android to accommodate Samsung Tablet S and S Pro.

Here’s the workflow for executing the new update:




*To practice FLY:Manual, enable “advanced flight modes” in the app settings. Then go to Solo settings and set “FLY:Manual” to the “A” or “B” button. Now when you want to switch into manual mode all you have to do is press A (or B), and you’re there.

Read more…
3D Robotics


To get the Drone Download in your inbox weekly, subscribe here.

Question of the week 

Shotguns. Snoops. Surveillance. So many stories in recent weeks have been calling attention to the public’s growing skepticism of drone technology. As a company on the advancing edge, we understand and anticipate this kind of resistance to new technology as part of the natural ebb and flow of things. We also see it as our mission to help relieve the stress of this skepticism with the massage of messaging.

So I’d like to know: As you read through the stories this week, which seem to strike you as raising particularly pertinent worries, or as patently ridiculous ones? What would you say in response to these stories, and to the legitimate concerns that many of them address?

I’m interested in your commentary on this week’s collection. Leave your remarks below!

And now, the links that matter:



“When you fly...we CAN’T!” So went a tweet from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection after a consumer drone grounded firefighting helicopters preparing to execute water drops on a wildfire. A drone in the vicinity “Puts our pilots lives at risk,” they continued. (LA Times)

In New York, Dave Beesmer (aka “Front Row Dave”) was acquitted of using his drone to “spy” on a hospital. He was taking pictures of the structure to give to the hospital for promotional materials. The ruling is significant in that existing privacy laws were brought to bear on drone technology, resulting not in the conviction but the acquittal of the accused. (Daily Freeman)

Wimbledrone: Authorities noticed a drone flying over the Wimbledon grounds last week and seized it for “flying within 50m of a structure.” They tracked the operator down, who was piloting from a nearby golf course. Wimbledon begins this week. (BBC)

A drone was reported in a near-miss at London’s Heathrow Airport. The UK Airprox Board said they never found the pilot of the device—which they say could have been a balloon, but was most likely a drone. The device was reportedly sighted at 1,700 feet, well above the UK’s 400-foot limit. (The Standard)

Boston will ban drones for its 4th of July events—not even the police will be allowed to fly. (Fortune)


Analysis and culture

I regret that the best details don’t fit here, but trust that this full story won’t let you down. Last November a man in rural California used a shotgun to take down his neighbor’s drone, saying he thought it was a “CIA surveillance device.” The drone owner sued for damages—the drone was over his own property—and this week was rewarded in full. (Ars Technica)

In Australia, news broke earlier this year about the horrific and rampant “live-baiting” of greyhounds in the dog racing business. Racing Queensland—the state’s racing authority—will use drones to help monitor the properties where greyhounds are raised and trained. Racing Queensland already uses drones to film some races, and so have discovered this second valuable use. (Business Insider)

Dronegate? In a confluence of everybody’s favorite American organizations, the FAA is looking into three NFL teams—the Cowboys, Giants and Patriots—for using drones to film their practices without obtaining the official exemptions necessary. (NBC) 

The Washington Post asks, “Do drones make sense for farming?” “It’s been very hard for farmers to conceptualize savings and an increase in their production from UAV technology,” said PrecisionHawk communications director Lia Reich. “We really wanted to help give a deep dive into understanding that return that farmers have for a UAV investment that a lot of farmers see as a large investment at this point.” Some claim that drones can reduce farming inputs by 20% and increase output by 20%.

Drones might finally silence those awful blueberry cannons once and for all. Blueberry farmers in Vancouver want to use drones to keep the birds at bay during harvest: “We want it to fly around, scare the daylights out of the birds—especially the starlings—and keep them nervous enough to stay away during harvest,” said Baumann. Currently the cheapest way to keep birds out of the berries is by firing loud blasts from propane cannons. Nearby towns have protested the cannons, which can be quite loud, but the ministry of agriculture allows them to be fired about every five minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. during harvest season, which can last more than three months. (Vancouver Sun)


High Tech

A robotics team at Harvard is trying to make robo-bees. These double-entendre drones will be programmed to cooperate in swarms, with possible applications in automatic pollination, search and rescue, climate mapping and more. (

This surging anti-drone privacy movement means that drone detection—using audio, radio, thermal and video tracking—could be big business. (Tech.Co)

But all you expert pilots out there might soon also be hearing that old “ka-ching,” yourselves: Fly4Me, an “Uber for drones,” got the nod from the FAA earlier this year and launched in beta this past week. Fly4Me pairs experienced drone pilots with people who need drone services. (Popular Science)

A drone that can survive the arctic. Laval University’s “Argo” drone can survive the extreme conditions of the Arctic Ocean, diving to depths of almost 2,000 m to collect data about marine life. Scientists believe that Argo will improve our understanding of the Arctic marine ecosystem and help us track the effects of climate change. (

May the open source be with you: Now you can 3D print your own Millennium Falcon drone. (



Here’s a drone flythrough of an enormous Japanese solar power plant. (RT)

Remember that viral video from last week, the one with a drone ripping the wingtip off of a commercial airliner? Well, it was fake—essentially an ad for a VFX studio—and this is how they did it. (YouTube)

And I don’t know where else to put this. Doesn’t really fit under “culture.” But here: Tom Cruise will apparently reprise his role as “Maverick” in the Top Gun sequel, which pits the aging pilot (in aging planes) against drones. The script is currently in the hands of Justin Marks, whom you probably remember as the writer of Street Fighter II: The Legend of Chun-Li. You can be my wingunmanned-aerial-vehicle anytime. (Rolling Stone)

Read more…
3D Robotics

The DIY Drones Monthly Newsletter


You may have noticed there’s a new section on the DIYD home page — just up the page from this very post, on the right side of your screen. It’s an entry form to subscribe to the new DIY Drones Monthly Newsletter.

The newsletter will celebrate the best and most popular threads and builds across the community each month. It will also feature important relevant news items. I work for 3DR and I’ll be curating this newsletter, but like any good open sourcer, I would definitely appreciate your help!

So: If you see or know of a thread, article or innovation that I’ve just got to check out, please let me know: — use the subject line “DIYD newsletter."

The first issue will go out later this month. Just enter your email into the form on the DIYD home page and you’re set. Very much looking forward to putting these together!

Read more…
3D Robotics


To get the Drone Download in your inbox weekly, subscribe here.

Question of the week

The big news this week came out of Congress: The FAA testified that drone regulations “will be in place within a year.” This means that, even though the FAA will have missed their initial deadline of September of this year, American skies will be open for commercial drone operations much sooner than anticipated—many thought legislation wouldn’t be in place until 2017.

So, after ramping up slowly, the FAA seems to have felt and responded to the pressure from lobbying groups like the Small UAV Coalition (3DR is a member) and corporate interests like Amazon. It also means that the American public will have a little less time to get accustomed to drones in the skies—and this week’s Download has some stories that indicate there’s a lot of education still to be done.

We have to enough true and positive information out there to combat the hype, fear-mongering and misinformation like this fake video, which just came out today.

So, to help us at 3DR be better educators, communicators and role models here’s my question:

What made you get behind drone technology?

What messages do you think would resonate most with the public, so that when the skies do open, their minds will be open, too? Help us tell the best stories we possibly can! Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

And now, the links that matter:



“The rule will be in place within a year.” FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker testified this week before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, promising the FAA will integrate commercial drones into the national airspace sooner than anticipated. (Reuters)

Amazon’s waiting for the FAA to deliver: Amazon vice president of global policy Paul Misener said during that same Congressional hearing, “We’d like to begin delivering to our customers as soon as it’s approved.” (Popular Science)

In this same hearing, Congress was warned that drones present “a nightmare scenario for civil liberties” (note the scare quotes): “Here is a nightmare scenario for civil liberties: a network of law enforcement UAS with sensors capable of identifying and tracking individuals monitors populated outdoor areas on a constant, pervasive basis for generalized public safety purposes.” (The Guardian)

Diane Feinstein introduced legislation that would direct the FAA to require certain safety features for newly manufactured consumer drones, such as geo-fencing, collision-avoidance software, air traffic control compliance and educational materials to be provided to the consumer. The legislation would allow the FAA to exempt some consumer drones from meeting certain “technologically infeasible or cost-prohibitive” requirements. (Sen. Diane Feinstein)

The New York Times, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Reuters, ABC and Getty Images , among others, will begin testing news-gathering drones today at a range in Virginia. I’d like to note that in a telling reversal VICE isn’t participating in a cutting-edge activity, but is instead reporting on it here. (Motherboard)


Culture and analysis

Check out the Department of Homeland Security’s test site for drone use in urban environs. The site’s name, Liberty City, should sound familiar to fans of the video game Grand Theft Auto—but this fake city is designed for crime prevention: “The broad objective is to determine whether drones can play a practical role in a broad range of public safety deployments…. Reviewers compile their findings into a database for first responders nationwide to use when weighing a drone purchase.” (Motherboard)

A look at the women behind the “abortion drone.” The drone is being sent by not-for-profit organization Women on Waves, which provides medical abortion pills around the world. On Saturday, the drone will drop a number of packages of World Health Organization-approved abortion pills over a Polish town on the border of Germany, where it will be met by women’s groups who will hand the pills to individual women who need them. Poland, with a large Roman-Catholic population, has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. (The Telegraph)

Antonio Brown led the NFL in receptions last year, though he didn’t break the all-time record. In the off-season, though, he’s used a drone to set the world record for a catch from the highest point—the drone dropped the ball from 360 feet, and it was moving at about 80 mph when Brown sucked it in. (CBS)

A frustrated Phil Mickelson chases down and kicks one of the drones that Fox Sports used to cover this year’s US Open. (It was a rover, not a copter.) Mickelson finished the tournament tied for 69th. (CBS)

Why send humans to space when we can send robots? Well worth checking out this exchange about autonomy between intellectual giants Noam Chomsky and Lawrence Krauss. (Motherboard)


High tech

Check out this multicopter made from bamboo, “the ultimate hipster material, and fabricated with a laser cutter, the ultimate hipster CNC fabricator.” (?!) (boingboing)

But come on—this drone has far more street cred: An IRIS+ spray paint mod on Adafruit, developed in collaboration with the graffiti artist KATSU.

And this one has far more street tread! (Sorry.) A tank quadcopter—useful for… something, I’m sure. (Uncrate)

New world record for longest multirotor flight: EnergyOr Technologies Inc. flew a hydrogen-powered drone for a record 3 hours, 43 minutes and 48 seconds, improving upon its previous world record of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 46 seconds, set this March. (EnergyOr)



It’s fake! And it’s just what the drone industry needs these days... Check out this video posted to LiveLeaks just today, purporting to show a drone striking the wing of a commercial plane over New York City. Then check out the name on the wingtip—the studio that handled the VFX here. And if you want, Google the incident. Please, if you see someone spreading this nonsense, shine a little light: It’s just an ad.


Read more…
3D Robotics

3689654923?profile=originalTo get the Drone Download delivered to your inbox weekly, subscribe here.

Question of the Week

This week, the global “Drones for Good” competition, hosted by the UAE, announced it has started accepting applications for its second annual contest, the winner of which will receive a $1 million prize. Last year the competition drew 800 participants from 57 countries; the winner was a “crash proof” rescue drone from the Swiss company Flyability.

The drone industry definitely needs high-profile events like these to highlight the astounding potential that drone technology has for people and industries around the world. And we need to do our part to champion these use cases, ourselves.

I don’t have a million dollars for you, but last week I began soliciting leads for “Drones for Good” use cases that you may have heard of. I’m collecting these stories to aggregate in a living, public database that will showcase and help advocate for drone technology. I received a bunch of great suggestions last week, and I’d like to see more! Remember, no case is too small, too obvious or too strange—share anything you’ve read or heard of that you feel might fit. Submit your suggestions in the comments section of this page. Thanks in advance!


And now, the links that matter: 


Microsoft launched a drone program to help fight the spread of disease. “As envisioned, Project Premonition would use drones to catch and identify new diseases before they become a threat to humans, wildlife, or livestock…. The potential gains are tremendous: new diseases found and sequenced before they get a chance to become virulent outbreaks.” (Popular Science)

Google wants to save your life with a fleet of drone ambulances, a new patent reveals. These new drones could deliver emergency supplies of water, first aid kits, defibrillators or EpiPens. (International Business Times)

Our CEO Chris Anderson went on CBS This Morning to talk about Solo and the future of drones. Chris also discusses hot-button issues of safety, privacy and the inevitable “mass jackassery” concomitant to the proliferation of consumer drones.

NIMBY: A guy in Huntington Beach, CA, swatted a quadcopter out of the sky with his t-shirt. “We were just filming a little video about how to make some changes to the settings on the app for the drone,” said Mike Luzansky, an employee of Lucky 7 Drones. “Then this neighbor that I’ve never seen before just comes over and hits it.” The video the company posted on YouTube has attracted more than 140,000 views. (LA Times)



Nine misconceptions about drones that serious engineers wish you’d shut up about. (Gizmodo)

3D Robotics features prominently in this great analysis of California’s burgeoning drone industry. (LA Times)

In this thoughtful piece on the effects of software and automation on jobs and the future global economy, the MIT Review asks, Who will own the robots? “For a long time the common understanding was that technology was destroying jobs but also creating new and better ones,” says Lipson. “Now the evidence is that technology is destroying jobs and indeed creating new and better ones but also fewer ones. It is something we as technologists need to start thinking about.”



The graffiti artist Katsu teaches you how to make a graffiti drone. The artist recently used a drone to tag NYC’s biggest billboard—a new era of vandalism? (Vice)

NASA has developed a somewhat surprising solution to that annoying “hornet’s nest” noise that drones make: More props. This new quiet drone has eight engines on the wings and another two on the tail; several small motors are quieter than a few large ones. (New Scientist)

On IndieGogo, MicroDrone 3.0: It fits in the palm of your hand, boasts the “world’s smallest gimbal,” and is designed to stream to live video to real time social media channels like Periscope and Meerkat.

NASA held its fourth annual International Space Apps Challenge, daring hackers and engineers to design a drone that could assist astronauts in zero gravity. A daunting task, but they did it. Read how here. (Memeburn)



You may have seen that recent flash floods in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, killed as many as 12 people and ripped open many exhibits in the city zoo, leading dozens of animals to break out. Several of those animals, including lions and tigers, remain at large. This drone video shows an escaped crocodile looking right at home in the muck. (NBC)

And now a dangerous animal in its natural environment: It used to take lifeguards up to two hours to go on a jet ski and try to confirm shark sightings, but with drones this can be done in a matter of minutes. Watch these lifeguards launch a drone and within minutes discover about ten great white sharks just off the California coast. (ABC)


Read more…
3D Robotics


There’s probably no better visual representation of the progression of drone technology over the last three years than this side-by-side comparison of controllers.


One is visibly hard to use, with a complicated arrangement of mysterious sticks and switches in a schematic best describable as “porcupine slapdash.” The other is substantially simpler, cleaner and smoother. And the purpose is more clear, too: This button turns it on; this button makes it fly; this button brings it home; this button pauses it. And of course, the most obvious physical difference: the controller on the right has a phone clipped to it. Plus, what you can’t see, it’s got a 1 GHz Linux computer inside.

So: What’s happened and why?

When we set out to deliver the best imaginable aerial photography experience, we understood that the drone itself was only one part of that experience. The controller in your hands is your connection, both virtual and physical, to everything that happens in the sky, so it’s critical that it conveys that experience to you clearly and enjoyably. To that end, we approached designing the controller as an equal part of Solo, not a companion to it.

First we tackled the unfamiliarity problem, which is essentially a design problem. The Solo controller boasts an ergonomic design inspired by video game controllers, so it feels natural even to new users from the moment they pick it up. Then we plucked the porcupine and made all of the functions simple and clear: There are the traditional directional sticks; there’s power, fly, return home and pause. We had a good start.

But Solo isn’t just an RC helicopter. Solo does stuff. Cool, sophisticated and extremely useful stuff. Solo’s controller had to be able not only to execute those commands, but make them all clear, accessible and efficient for the user.

Again we took a cue from gamers and assigned all the camera and gimbal controls to paddles on each shoulder of the controller. On the left shoulder is a paddle for fine grain manual gimbal tilt control; on the right shoulder are two buttons for presetting gimbal tilt positions and a knob to adjust the speed of the gimbal’s automated sweep between those presets. Clicking the tilt paddle (left) starts or stops recording on the GoPro® and pressing both presets at the same time (right) snaps a photo.

While this new level of gimbal control makes smooth and clean gimbal moves automatic and easy, it also presents a whole new set of information for users to manage. We had to find a way to convey this information without cluttering up the FPV feed or confusing users, so we built a color LED display right into the controller. This display has multiple screens—pre-flight; in-flight; and camera angle feedback—with clear graphics, so you always have contextual information about what’s going on in flight. This eliminates the need to interpret blinking lights on the copter to get vital flight information, and it’s even all supplemented with haptic feedback—a gentle vibration that alerts you about critical things like a low battery and confirms all “long-press” actions (takeoff, land, set a gimbal preset, etc.).

What you can’t tell about the controller just by looking is that it has its own 1 GHz computer inside. The computer powers a strong and secure WiFi network (3DR Link), which communicates with Solo and delivers HD video wirelessly to your mobile device with only 180 ms latency. The computer also powers a built-in HDMI port, making live broadcast to nearly any type of screen as simple as plugging in an HDMI cable.

Additionally, the computer allows the controller to record 500 parameters of flight data to its internal memory as you fly, 10 times every second. This last bit is important, because it means the controller also doubles as Solo’s “black box”—so even if you were to lose the copter in a volcano, you’d still have all the flight data in your hands. Submit the data to our customer service department wirelessly via the Solo app, and we’ll be able to go over your flight with you. If you lost anything due to system error—be it the copter, the gimbal or the GoPro—we’ll replace it for free.

This is smart. This is Solo.

Read more…
3D Robotics

3689636967?profile=originalWe’re very excited to announce the release of our new open source flight control app, Tower. Tower not only extends the simple and feature-rich flight experience legacy of our DroidPlanner series, but it also gives anyone the ability to build new features into the app or customize existing ones. We’re the major contributor to Tower and will support the app and fix all critical issues, but we really want this release to encourage people around the world to use their creativity and programming talents to further the power, usability and fun of drones.

The beginning of a new era

Tower is an important waypoint on the trajectory of this industry. “By opening Tower to the public, we’re giving the global community of programmers, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs the ability to drive drone innovation in a very positive manner,” said Colin Guinn, 3DR’s chief revenue officer. “We’re excited to see how people use their talents to improve and innovate on Tower.”

“We envision a future where numerous providers out there will be building apps for drones,” added Brandon Basso, VP of software engineering. “They want 3DR to do the work of keeping the drone in the air so they can do the rest.”

A good analogy is the smartphone: In order to make a smartphone app, you don’t need to design and create a phone from scratch. The hard part (the platform, in other words) is already done. With our flight control software, we’ve made the phone, so to speak. Now everyone has the ability to create new functions.

To that end, we’re simultaneously launching 3DR Services, a new app that aggregates all of these third-party tools—think of this as the app store for drones. 3DR Services can guide you to Tower and other 3DR apps, as well as third-party drone apps. To kick off this exciting forum, we’ve already built an Android Wear and Pebble app that gives you the ability to control some flight modes directly from your wrist.


Tower is suited to first-time pilots as well as experts. As with DroidPlanner, you don’t need to know how to fly a drone in order to fly our drones: Create flights by simply drawing paths on your tablet or by dropping waypoints. The app also provides transmitter-free operation of all 3DR-powered copters and planes from any Android smartphone or tablet.

Tower itself is essentially the next iteration of DroidPlanner, with the addition of useful new features you’ve come to expect from our DP updates. For instance, you can use Tower to easily program autonomous flights, bend around waypoints with a spline editor and take hands-free photos and videos of yourself with 3PV™ Follow Me mode and automated “dronie” features. Tower also features a new Mission Editor for easier insertion or reordering of elements. For commercial and industrial users, the software includes a new building mapper for creating 3D scans of large structures or geographical features. We’ve also made planning missions a lot easier, especially when it comes to inserting new waypoints into existing missions. And next week we’ll integrate support for Droneshare, our social network for drones, so you can track and share flights and pilot rankings (until now only available in DroidPlanner beta).

Here’s a quick rundown of Tower’s new features:

  • Over 10 different waypoint types
  • Fly in smooth curves with spline waypoints
  • Use Circle waypoints to orbit an object while keeping the camera pointed at it
  • Region of Interest (ROI) points allow flyers to keep the camera centered on a subject regardless of flight path
  • Survey will automatically generate the flight pattern needed to fully cover a region of the map
  • 3PV™ Follow Me keeps the camera centered on the user while the drone follows the user’s movement; angles can also be adjusted as the drone follows you
  • An Automated Building Mapper makes 3D scans of large structures
  • Adjust parameters within your flight controller to get a custom feel
  • Supports copters and planes

How to get Tower

To download the free Tower drone control app, click here.

Click here to access 3DR Services.

The Tower open-source community is located on GitHub at

Tower works with most drones that use the MAVLink protocol.

Read more…
3D Robotics


This week 3DR launched DroneEDU, an initiative to sponsor and support high school and university programs around the world who are interested in researching or using UAV technology. DroneEDU offers universal discounts on products, as well as classroom support and free autopilots and full drone systems on a per-case basis.

Why we’re doing it

“UAV technology can have an incredible impact in scientific study, with real-world applications in solving both historical mysteries and modern global challenges,” said Brandon Basso, VP of software engineering at 3DR. “This program is designed to provide access to these exciting, engaging and versatile tools to students at all levels of education, from grade school through post-graduate study.”

In other words, the most exciting thing about partnering with educators is that today no one knows exactly where this technology can take us. The full potential is only now beginning to be digested and applied to different industries and research fields. What’s already clear is that UAVs are the most exciting and promising new academic arena to emerge in a while: They’ll propel science and learning, open up new fields of study and assist in making discoveries that would have been unrealistic or unimaginable before this technology.

White board to real world

But the true impact of scientific study is the advancement it enables in real world applications. Ultimately, all this research manifests as real tools that people outside of the classroom will use for good, such as we’ve already seen in bird and habitat protection, site survey, invasive species protection and even archaeology.

By putting computers in the sky, drones open new potential for connected digital technology. For just one example—out of innumerable applications—academic drone research has propelled the following advancements in conservation and habitat study: GPS/satellite geotagging and mapping, cloud services, mobile services, camera networking, radio telemetry, LiDAR and data capture and analysis from field observation.

These advancements have helped researchers evaluate biodiversity in hard-to-reach places, track endangered species and document real-time special and environmental changes, among them changes in behavior that may indicate the presence or threat of poaching. Take this one case study and multiply it across disciplines and the potential suddenly begins to reveal itself: A robust and diverse academic community will spread knowledge and leverage technology and innovation across disciplines, including many that we in the UAV industry would never have thought of on our own.

The cool factor

The next generation of innovators—the kids who grow up with a smartphone in their pocket and learn how to code in grade school—will be the ones who will really take UAV technology to the next level. This is critically important to the industry, to our company, and yes, to communities and the world at large. Even the FAA has acknowledged this, choosing leading university partners for each of their six official test sites. And to illustrate how widespread UAV programs are, even Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University now has a full-fledged UAV program.

As a case in point, at the prestigious ASME Student Design Competition (SDC) last year, the international collection of teams—including universities from China, France, India, Peru, Turkey and across the US—were asked for the first time to bring their engineering skills to bear on drones: design and build an original UAV, guide it successfully through a series of obstacles, complete a targeted payload drop and return to launch.

And it’s not just higher ed. Forward-thinking high schools around the world have already discovered this potential on their own, adding drone technology courses to their standard curriculum. These courses are popular, and have connected participating schools and students with UAV companies and researchers in the real world. DroneEDU will foster exactly these types of connections and nurture an ecosystem of new innovators.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of UAV study as we see it:

  • UAV technology cuts across disciplines. Students learn and apply skills in math, electronics, aeronautics, physics, programming, project management and more.
  • Real-world applications: Not only will students be prepared to enter and contribute to this nascent and booming industry on the ground floor, but the constituent skills needed to understand, build and operate UAV technology will serve them in a variety of high-tech jobs or future fields of study.
  • A leap ahead: And not just in high-tech know-how. High school students don’t typically see this level of technological engagement until they’re already deep into a college program.
  • Software: As part of their UAV curriculum, one high school had students create their own mobile app that uses data provided by their drone to map a safe course for a school bus to navigate a disaster drone. This same program offered students the opportunity to acquire certification to use the modeling software they learned on.
  • High-tech careers: UAV study provides students an array of skills that neatly translate into high-tech fields like programming and engineering.
  • Engagement: Frankly, drones are cool. Across the board, high school teachers report that UAV classes solicit a phenomenal level of classroom engagement from students. It’s hands-on, and it’s flying robots. The cool factor draws students, and teachers can lever the novelty to teach serious skills. As one high school science put it, “[Science isn’t] all stuffy lab coats and chalkboards filled with equations. Yes, those things are important, but there are tangible, hands-on applications for science that are engaging, useful and, yes, even cool. If this course gives one student the confidence to pursue higher education, it will be a success. If one student decides to become a scientist based on what they do in this UAV course, it will be worth it.”
  • Community engagement and impact: In the ASME competition, one team designed a drone specifically to help firefighters with situational awareness. At Stanford, students are developing fully biodegradable drones that could one day explore Mars. And four high schools in Alaska had their UAV tech students participate in activities such as simulated search-and-rescues, charting sea ice and data collection for a NASA aviation safety project.
  • Professional connections: 3DR offers students a bridge from education to profession. A high school case study: Northrop Grumman sponsored a team of high school students to compete in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Outback Challenge 2013, aimed at promoting UAVs and demonstrating their vehicles in civilian applications. Northrop Grumman executives and employees met with students to provide key insights about their progress. Said a science teacher involved with the project, “This partnership between industry and education enables us to provide exciting and challenging opportunities for our students to work with cutting-edge technology and understand the opportunities that exist for them once they graduate.”


How to get on board


3DR has always actively engaged the academic community. We already sponsor several university UAV programs, including Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. (Both schools have signed on as DroneEDU launch partners.) And we were also the only drone company to present at the first UAVs in Environmental Science Conference.

“Recently 3D Robotics donated hardware to SUAVE, Stanford’s UAV Club,” said Trent Lukaczyk of Stanford’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “We’re using that equipment to grow and upgrade the SUAVE 101 Course: an intro course that mentors students with zero drone experience into an autonomous flying hero.”

“Even for college seniors, the task of designing and assembling a functional system in a three-month period is challenging,” said Tom Clark, Development Engineer, Mechanical Engineering Department, Cal Berkeley. “With 3DR’s partnership, our students have been able to spend less time learning about quadrotor technology that is currently on the market, and instead focus on the developing their own applications or hardware that builds on that technology. We’re grateful for 3DR’s support!”

If you’re currently using or contemplating purchasing a UAV or autopilot technology for your classroom or program, 3DR would like to support your engagement. DroneEDU is open to all educators and students that will be connected with programs utilizing and training on UAV technology, from professors to admins and enrolled students, no matter how large or small your project is.   Click here to get started.


Read more…
3D Robotics

3DR’s Black Friday DIY Warehouse Sale

3689627901?profile=original3DR is happy to announce a big Black Flyday sale for our DIY customers. From Black Friday through Cyber Monday we’re offering a 30% price cut on selected items in our store. Our stock is limited, though, so when these sell out the deals are done.

Sale items include Gen 1 Y6 and X8 copters, though for this sale the X8 isn’t eligible for “+” upgrades. Also take 30% off a limited quantity of Y6 cases and IRIS battery packs.

We’re also offering a 30% discount on APM 2.6 along with an array of components, from magnetometers to USB adapters to Ardu IMU and more. Again, we’ve got limited quantities available, so when they’re gone they’re gone.

Take advantage this weekend to buy for friends and family, or for that DIYDrones friend who never has enough gear, or reward yourself for all that time spent in an insipid windowless mall with some real quality time in your windowless garage -- then get outside and turn Black Friday into Black Flyday!

Click here to view all sale items and start perusing.

Read more…
3D Robotics

3DR Announces the Release of New FPV Kit

3689626493?profile=originalOur First-Person View (FPV) Kit includes everything you need to start live streaming a video feed from the GoPro on your IRIS+ or X8+. Thanks to the 7-inch Bright View™ monitor’s sharp contrasts and LED backlight, you’ll see the live feed clearly on even the brightest days. Additionally, the powerful 5.8 GHz 32-channel wireless receiver won’t display a “blue screen” if the signal gets weak, which means you can fly farther without losing your first-person view. Your range is further extended with the included high-gain cloverleaf antennae for both video transmitter and diversity receiver. Small, lightweight and powerful, the Bright View™ even allows you to view two channels simultaneously for serious mission control. With an integrated receiver, built-in battery and CNC mounting bracket, the Bright View™ display won’t have any unwieldy wires cramping the style of your controller. And the kit is a plug and play, making installation easy in less than 5 minutes with no tools necessary for assembly.

Kit includes:
Monitor and receiver
5.8 GHz 200 mW Wireless AV Transmitter
Cloverleaf antennas
Tarot GoPro Video Cable
Mounting bracket for controller
Power cable
Mounting velcro

Read more…
3D Robotics

Announcing the Latest DroidPlanner Release

3689624884?profile=originalWe’re excited to announce the release of the latest version of DroidPlanner, 2.8.1. This release expands and enhances the user experience of version 2.0, incorporating some cool and innovative new features as well as updates to existing features based on valuable user feedback. New features include an automated 3D modeling waypoint generator, a change of speed waypoint, improvements to help streamline 3PV™ follow me, and further autonomous flight protection. We invite you to download it for free from the Google Play store.

New features:

Building mapper waypoint generator: creates a pattern around a GPS coordinate to snap timelapsed photos which can be stitched together later into a 3D model (stitching software available separately).

Edit multiple waypoints: Hold down on any waypoint, then select the waypoints you want to edit. When you’re done, just hit the Done button.

3PV™ Follow Me: In order to change following position, tap and pull up on the Follow Me button (moved from the side menu).

Autonomous mission protection: When you create a mission without a takeoff and/or RTL end point, the app now prompts you to do so. This prevents your copter from automatically going into loiter after your mission finishes, and possibly descending where you don’t want it to.

Change speed waypoint: Allows you to change the copter’s speed during autonomous flight.

Features based on feedback:

The “Dronie” app has some user-friendly updates.

When the user creates the dronie, a message tells the user where to stand.

The app alerts the user when the copter is about to take off to go into the auto mission.

On its way back down, the copter slows as it gets closer to its original location, so users feel less worried the copter might be descending out of control.

How to download:

Visit the Google store here. The version you download should be 2.8.1RC1.

Read more…