3D Robotics

3DR International Shipping Update


Hello everyone,

As most of you are aware, 3D Robotics recently paused shipments to locations outside the US and Canada.  I know that there has been plenty of speculation about why this is and when shipments will resume.  I also know that there has been some unhappiness about the level of transparency that 3DR has provided in this process.  I'd like to give you some information that I hope you will find useful.

As we all know, this is a nascent industry and it can sometimes be a challenge to fit the things happening here into categories and regulations that were developed long ago.  As such, regulatory reviews of these items are logically necessary and appropriate for 3DR and other companies in this space.

We're working with the Department of Commerce on the export classification of our flight controllers.  We certainly wish that we could do so without pausing our international shipments, but as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure--we'd rather be a little extra conservative and work well with the authorities.  We expect that many of the safeguards we've already put in place will help speed the process, but we need to go through a full review to ensure that once we resume exports there will be no further disruptions.

Starting tomorrow, we will make available for international shipment many items that you will find useful: cables, hardware, batteries, fiber plates, motors, and more.  We'll continue to make more items available as quickly as we can.

As this moves along, we'll provide updates when there is relevant information that is helpful to share with the community.   I know that you all spend some of your valuable free time on DIY Drones because you are passionate about what this technology and this community can do.  Those are the same reasons that we exist as a company.  We are in this for the long term, and the process we're going through now will help to put us on even more solid footing to support the increasingly international future of these products.  We sincerely appreciate your constant support.


Andy Jensen, 3DR

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  • Would be interesting if somebody could get Arducopter running on a cheap smart phone.  Just to prove the point.  ;)

  • Moderator

    I don't know- I heard the same thing. .. :-D;-)

  • @Antonio Cabral: I hope that was a joke. If so, ha ha.  If that was a serious question, you are on crack.

  • Thanks to 3DR for the info. The situation though makes me laugh. I put together a BBB with some accelerometers for testing a project the other day. I am using an Teensy 3.1 with an inclinometer. And lets not forget the iPhone and Android phone (and others too long to list) they have pretty much all the same hardware with the only exception being a pressure sensor. Is it the pressure sensor that makes these different to a phone/tablet? Is it the lack of LCD. Makes me laugh.

  • Is it true that the NSA demanded a secret tracker on all pixhawks as a condition to reopen exports?

  • Gerard, 

    This interview has some information, it's not exactly relative but it gives you some of the picture.


    This paragraph is important, there is usually a sane path that can be navigated if the parties involved are acting rationally:

    There is also an ITAR procedure that permits a U.S. registrant to go to the State Department preventively to explain any problem, or non-compliant activity, that’s gone on in the past, and, believe it or not, the State department is fairly lenient about prior disclosures.  Depending upon on what has happened, sometimes they will greatly reduce any penalty or corrective procedures that may be required.

    Seeing that Andy is on the job, with this issue, should be very reassuring to all of 3DR's international customers. He isn't the kind of guy to flaunt the rules and piss off regulators, and that is the secret to coming out on top in matters such as these.

    The rules apply to everyone, even the rich kids of silicon valley.

  • I'm confident that this issue will resolve itself over time. Just make sure that 3DR is ready to receive a flood of new orders as the stocks will have run low across the world.

    Also a question to clarify this issue: I gather that even if the hardware is manufactured in Mexico, that the restrictions apply because the company is registered in the US. Does this mean it's only the final manufactured hardware that is restricted, or does this include both software and hardware *designs*?  

  • This situation is bad mainly for 3DR. Since this sensitive equipment under regulation is sold by others too (as clones or under license) only 3DR will suffer due coop with DoC. Pity that true creator of great hardware and software is a victim of its own country's regulations...

  • MR60

    @Jethro, Yeah, this is similar to the IRS forcing US citizens living abroad to pay US taxes, just because they are US citizens ! This contradicts any common sense normally in application everywhere else on the planet where you'd only pay taxes in the country where revenues are generated. This is a typical concrete example of what is often criticized from the outside against the US (regulation): an "imperialistic" attitude. This is the privilege of the strongest in the jungle, I guess.

  • Jetho, you have been informed of this from the very beginning.  It has been known since day one that it was an export regulation government red tape situation. What more do you demand to know? There is nothing more that anyone can tell you.

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