Hello everyone,

 

As you know, 3DR released Solo nearly a year ago and since then has been firmly focused on extending its capabilities. While many of our legacy products, including IRIS+ and X8+, continue to serve customers well, their time in the 3DR store has come to an end.

 

At the end of January, we will officially sunset most of our legacy products; they will no longer be available for purchase from 3DR. As such, I invite you to visit our store today for your last orders of IRIS+, X8+ accessories, FPV equipment, cables and more!

 

After the end of January, we will continue to sell products in the Solo and Pixhawk families.  We will also offer a small selection of IRIS+ accessories and consumables (batteries, propellers, and so forth) through the end of March. And, of course, we will continue to offer the same excellent customer and technical support (including replacement components) for our legacy products.

Thanks to you all for your constant support of 3DR. We continue to work to bring you the best drone experiences in the world and to enable you to get the shot every time.

 

Best wishes,

 

3DR

 

Views: 9981

Comment by Patrick Poirier on January 29, 2016 at 6:10am

Hey Guys,

did I get it wrong, but what they are no longer selling is stuff that we are now used  buy on Banggood and HobbyKing ?!

This is not a bad sign, it is just evolution, and a change in market, Chris is right there is no way you can compete with Shenzhen on high volume low cost. So get into software or in very specialized product niche like Laser Scanners  ;-)


Developer
Comment by Philip on January 29, 2016 at 6:12am
A few points...

Pixhawk 2 will be continuing post 3DR. I will be continuing to lead this project. 3DR and team did an awesome job to get it where it is. Any questions, feel free to contact me.

Re Iris.. I have it on good authority that there are heaps of spares for Iris.

If you need accessories, talk to JDrones.

Lots of CAN stuff coming, and you will love some of the vision systems that will be hitting the market from lots of suppliers this year!

Hopefully I will be making some big Pixhawk 2 announcements soon.

In the meantime, Solo is a great way to start experimenting with the capabilities of co-computing.

Philip Rowse
ProfiCNC

Former Lead Systems engineer for 3DR.
Current lead, Pixhawk 2
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 29, 2016 at 6:26am

Patrick, you are correct, that you can't compete with Shenzhen on high volume, low cost, low quality, low service product.  You can compete with Shenzen on moderate volume, moderate cost, high quality, high service product.

You are correct to some degree. A huge swath of the low end hobby/DIY market, will be serviced direct from China.  Anybody who has ordered direct from China, and has been satisfied with that interaction, well they can continue that.

What I am more interested in doing, is servicing the upper end of the hobby/DIY market, and the commercial markets.  I don't think either of these have been well-served in the past.  These people expect things like, if something is In Stock in a store in the US, and they order it and pay for overnight shipping, because they need it the next day...  they don't find out a week later that "Oh, sorry about that, our stock levels were wrong, we'll have more of these in a week."  They also want to know that the components they are buying, come off a quality controlled production line, every time. Not a modern factory one day, and a dirt floor factory the next after production was moved because the good factory got a better contract one week.

A company delivering excellence will not be able to compete with Shenzhen on price.  That's obvious.  But I have heard from so many people in this market, that were frustrated with the status quo, and wanted something better.

That's my vision for where I want to take things.


Developer
Comment by Philip on January 29, 2016 at 7:07am
@Patrick, one of the problems is, that everyone was purchasing from banggood etc... These guys do not feed back into the project!
Comment by Ravi on January 29, 2016 at 7:48am

@rob thanx for morally supporting the community. I cannot spare a million but I feel exactly like you do. all the great people are still around. why not re-start step by step. instead of of PH2 why not start with a companion board for PH1. I think that is the missing part as of now. Let me tell you the power of DIY community is immense. you never who on the blog is an Einstein and will give the formula E=MC2 free of cost.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 29, 2016 at 8:13am

Yes.

I actually see the DIY/Hobby market for full-featured UAV's shrinking however.  A couple reasons for that.  First, a huge segment of this market is not really interested in UAV's as a hobby.  They wanted flying cameras. Years ago, you had to build your own, there was no other choice.  But this segment is increasingly served by the RTF market.  The situation is not at all helped by the fact that nobody developed a brushless gimbal system that actually works reliably, that you can hang on your DIY copter.  There's a lot of systems on the market, but it's fractured, buying a controller from one place, a gimbal from another, a camera from a third, putting it all together, and then none of it works.  I've been playing with brushless gimbals for 2-3 years now, and have never achieved anything where I'd actually plan a trip to go do aerial photography.  Always testing and tweaking.  I have a Tarot X8 octocopter that flies beautifully with Pixhawk on it, but it's collecting dust and beside it are 3-4 different brushless gimbal systems that do not work.  And, as a guy who can make UAV helicopters work, and not being able to make an AlexMos gimbal work... I think that's saying something.  Anyway, it's just easier, and cheaper, to buy one of the RTF systems now.  Who can argue with $500 Phantoms (or even $350 now).

And then the other thing drawing down DIY full-UAV sales, is that most of the hobby market that was interested in quadcopters only because they were "the latest fad" are moving over to the FPV Racing side of things.  This is a market where Arducopter does not dominate, and probably never will.  This market will be dominated by systems offering flash and bang.  The MHz wars are in full effect here already.

Where does that leave us?  There are a few segments:

- High-end Hobbyists.  They are interested in UAV's as a hobby, and don't want to buy something RTF.  These people still want to build Octocopters and other advanced systems.  They want to tinker.  They are not afraid to pay a little extra to get a high quality product from a company that is helping to drive accessible UAV technology forward. 

- High-End Commercial UAV service providers.  Many of these guys are not interested in a closed-source system.  They do not want to have their operations affected by the whims of a company that only operates in their own best interests.  Restricting flight locations, proprietary hardware, hiding bugs, etc.  These people are also not afraid to spend extra to get what they need to make their business work. But they expect good service.  If they need hardware to do a job the next day, and they order it and pay for overnight shipping, it better damn well be on their desk the next day with no excuses!

- Commercial UAV System Builders.  These guys are very similar to the service providers.  But in addition, they need a stable hardware platform.  And they need the highest quality components.  And they're the least afraid to pay for it, because their alternative is $50k+ closed-source systems.

- Researchers/Universities.  The most important thing for these guys, is to have a leading-edge, truly open source code base, that they can build upon.  And they appreciate having access to the software developers, and a robust community of others working in the same field to collaborate with.  Most of them believe in open source as strongly as we do.  They would not be interested in working with Fauxpen Source, where only the basics are open, but everybody and their dog has closed-source bolt-on modules, making the entire system a confusing mess.  Neither are they interested in being restricted to only working with what is available in an SDK. They want to lead development, not follow behind, restricted to only do what somebody else allows them.

There are of course other segments.  I'm not interested in these segments.

- Hobbyists who are happy ordering components from an unknown source, with no support, no warranty return process. They buy on price alone, assuming it's all the same anyway, and are happy to wait a month for product to arrive.  This market is already served from Shenzhen.

- People who want to work in the "retail" UAV services business.  They want RTF commercial systems, that are easy to use, at a low price.  There is no money to be made here.  Since the hardware is low cost, and easy to use, they will be competing 20-somethings living in their parent's basement, and are happy to go do a job for $50.  DJI can have this one.

-RTF Consumer market.  The end-game for this market, is full-featured camera-equipped quadcopters for $99.99 available at Walmart.  Who wants to fight in that arena?  No thanks.

Comment by JB on January 29, 2016 at 8:26am

Ummm I don't have the millions in cash either for a new startup....

But I do have a potential local investor always on the lookout for tech startups with potential, and a good dose of altruism, that also has enough zeros on the account. He's used to donating 10's millions to charity every year from his nine figure fund. I'm not kidding. PM me if anyone is serious on putting a business plan together to submit, I have the requirements here from another project.

Regards JB

Comment by Patrick Poirier on January 29, 2016 at 8:46am

@Rob , thanks for the perfectly clear and detailed picture of the situation.

As a Hobbyist I am on  both ends of this spectrum, I am willing to pay big bucks for the next generation flight controllers and high tech sensors because I recognize the effort invested and I need support.  But on the other hand, I really don't mind ordering a spare BEC,  a set of connectors and other ''commodities''  that I'll get in 4 weeks as long as it is free shipping...


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 29, 2016 at 8:52am

Oscar: "If anyone @3DR is listening, it would be amazing to see the company ignite the next wave of diy drones by releasing Iris+ parts/designs for 3D printing and such."  I agree! Stay tuned...

Also, we are not primarily focused on competing with DJI in the consumer market. Consumer is where the market is at the moment, due to regulation, but we've always been focused on Commercial use at the ultimate goal. That's where our open platform has the biggest impact. You'll see a lot more announcements from us this year on that, but there's a glimpse of it already from our Enterprise team here

Comment by Erik Graham on January 29, 2016 at 9:05am
Wait, Pixhawk 2 not open? When did that happen? Did I just assume wrong this whole time?

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