As some of you may have noticed at the recent SUSB Expo in San Francisco, we’ve been busy working on a brand-new, consumer-friendly quadcopter.  The day has finally come to officially take off the wraps and show it to you all.  Here it is: Iris.


3DR Iris provides the autonomous functionality you’ve come to know and love in APM:Copter with a next generation PX4-based 32-bit autopilot (UPDATE: this has now been announced, and is called Pixhawk) and an all-in-one housing.

Building on the existing 3DR family of multi-rotor vehicles, Iris is compact, ready-to-fly, and fully autonomous. Navigate from takeoff to landing with point-and-click mission planning and configurable GPS waypoints, all from your mobile device or computer. Iris supports the full set of features offered by APM:Copter, including loiter, altitude hold, return to launch, circle, follow me, acrobatic flying mode, and more. With a stylish, durable, and sleek body, Iris is designed with a wide angle between the front arms to provide a clear view for an on-board camera--add a GoPro Hero 3(R) to capture your favorite moments from a unique perspective.


  • Multiple control options provide redundancy and flexibility: RC, computer, phone, tablet

  • Built-in data radio for real-time mission monitoring, data-logging, and control

  • Powerful cross-platform ground station/mission planning and analysis software that runs on Windows, OS X and Linux, providing simple point-and-click programming and configuration

  • Mobile apps allow intuitive “draw a path” mission planning

  • Picatinny rail mounting system integrated in the arms provides painless mounting for future accessories (stay tuned!)

  • Camera options include a live video link with programmable on-screen-display, and will soon support a fully integrated stabilized camera gimbal with autopilot control

  • GoPro(R) compatible camera mount

  • Available with a 9-channel RC transmitter pre-programmed for the most popular flight modes.

  • GPS waypoints allow for professional-grade mission capabilities, such as: mapping, scripted cinematography, scientific research, and other applications where repeatable flight plans are required

  • Robust arms and feet produced from Zytel Nylon(R) for the ultimate in wear, abrasion and impact resistance over a wide temperature range. They are easily and inexpensively replaced if required.

  • Auto takeoff and landing along with Return-To-Launchpoint command at the press of a button or under programmable failsafe conditions

  • Follow Me function for the ultimate "selfies". In this mode, Iris will follow (at an adjustable distance) any ground station device equipped with a GPS antenna and one of our 3DR telemetry/control radios

  • Geo Fencing provides a virtual box to keep your drone within a user-selectable space

  • Failsafe programming options bring peace of mind in the event of lost control signal/GPS or low battery conditions

  • External micro-USB port

  • RGB LED for status and orientation
  • Buzzer for audible status and warning messages

  • Safety switch adds a second level of protection against inadvertent start-ups

  • Open source flight code, ground station software and electronics are all freely distributed under standard open source licenses. This means that Iris' capabilities are always improving and expanding with a simple firmware update!


  • Motor to motor dimension: 550 mm

  • Height: 100 mm

  • Weight (with battery): 1282 grams

  • Average flight time: 9-14 minutes

  • Standard battery: 11.1v 3.5Ah lithium polymer with XT-60 type connector, weight 262 grams

  • Propellers: (2) 10 x 4.7 normal-rotation, (2) 10 x 4.7 reverse-rotation

  • Motors: AC 2830, 850kv

  • Telemetry/Control radios available in 915mHz or 433mHz

  • PX4-based 32-bit autopilot with Cortex M4 processor

  • 3DR uBlox GPS with integrated magnetometer

Iris is currently available in a developer release for experienced operators to participate in the ongoing development of this exciting new product. Iris developer pre-orders are available now from store.3drobotics.com and will ship September 16th. Operators not interested in development are encouraged to wait for the consumer release of Iris coming soon!

Official press release can be found here.

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  • Being a retired EE in Electronics I fully understand the 3DR situation. Remember, with out front projects like this Patience is a virtue and all good things come to those who wait. I am a buyer of the Iris when it is ready for prime time. AND I have built many systems myself. I am not an Aeronautical Eng. but still appreciate the complexities of such undertaking. 3DR please keep up the good work. I as others would also appreciate a Kit version of the Iris with a full selection of spare parts so we can dabble ourselves and play around with different options. That is part of what this hobby is all about.

  • Hi Chris, Gary,

    Thank you for all the details. I am having a close look at it. Of course, Iris is wonderful, 3DR designed it with care and better than any other platforms I know out there. I have been into Multicopters for almost 3 years now, and I would have to vouch for this very software platform having more features and stability than any others I have used until today!

    My only concern is directly buying Iris means having 3DR labels all around. I don't use it for my hobby alone but for some research projects. I personally don't prefer these marketing labels. This was not so apparent with earlier RTF kits from 3DR and has been more with growing market place for 3DR. I think this labeling should of course be present, but to a minimum. I cannot complain, as it is 3DR's choice and as customers, people buy their products. Just my personal opinion! 

  • I do not work for 3DR although I am certainly a strong supporter.

    But the simple fact is that if you want the best most pro Quadcopter the Iris is actually a very good deal.

    It has design features and is made of materials that fully justify it's price in comparison to any other off the shelf copter out there.

    You can build a DJI Flamewheel F450 ARF with a Pixhawk for about $100.00 less than the Iris, but the Iris is a whole lot more copter than the Flamewheel.

    And Ive built two Flamewheels and a Flip Sport which I dearly love, but I would a lot rather have an Iris.

    It is just really, really well designed.

    The only "better" copters cost a lot more (starting perhaps with Steadidrone).

    In any case, Pixhawk works fine in a Flamewheel (or Flip) and they are very sturdy high performance Quadcopters for not much money.

    Please go see my build your own Multicopter page: http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/build-your-own-multicopter/

    and the Flamewheel build page: http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/dji-f330-flamewheel/

    and the Flip Build page: http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/hoverthings-flip-sport-quadcopter/

    and then possibly look carefully at the Iris and its features and rethink your original statement.

    Best Regards,


  • 3D Robotics

    Pixhawk offers all the PX4 functionality in one package. 

  • Can someone tell me if I need to custom build a quad "with PX4 autopilot", do I need to buy both the Px4FMU and PX4 IO board OR the PX4 autopilot would suffice (having all functionalities)?

    I do not wish to buy Iris directly, personally it looks too much of a 3DR marketing to me (too many labels of 3DR all round Iris)..


  • I have been waiting months, but made that decision after a lot of thought and research.  Sure I would like to have it now, but being honest I would rather wait a bit longer, learning all I can about it's operation and all the other software that will help control its flights. This will give them time to make it so much better for all of us.   Someone just mentioned about the battery, I am crossing my fingers that they have considered all options.  I guess anything close to 10 minutes would make me happy, but more would sure make me smile lol 
  • 3D Robotics

    Euan: that email may have been a bit confusing. As you expected, those design changes were made many months ago, after the first beta testing feedback. The delay the team was reporting was with the injection mold-makers who are producing the new parts. We've had to send them back a number of times for better surfacing and fit. It's the last of those parts coming in that's gating shipment. It should just be a matter of weeks now. 

    The silver lining is that software teams have been hard at work throughout this period enhancing the Pixhawk flight code and Mac/PC/Android apps, so the out-of-the-box features and performance and well ahead of where they would have been a few months ago. 


  • Interesting. You kinda expect some delays with a new product, but overheating and battery doors popping open sound like pretty fundamental problems to be discovering mere days from the official shipping date?

  • Oh! and BTW, all good products get delayed. That is exactly why they end up good.

  • That is why I never pre-order. Let 'em get it right, read the reviews, then go for it. Having been a developer/design engineer myself I fully understand the issue if "Teething Problems". Not serious just stuff that inevitably surfaces and needs to be addressed before mass production.

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