3D Robotics

3DR's Rise and Fall


Tough Market

“We exited hardware and we exited consumer partly because it was a tough market,” he said. “DJI is an amazing company and lots of people got pounded.

“It was just brutal.”

"We’re a Silicon Valley company and we’re supposed to be doing software and there are Chinese companies that are supposed to be doing hardware.”

Can't say I agree with some of these statements, but alas, this has all played out already. Other interesting tidbits relating to a previously proposed acquisition by DJI are also in the article.

Describes one of the last chapters of the 3DR history book fairly accurately though.

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2016/10/05/3d-robotics-solo-crash-chris-anderson

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  • @ Doug Ellison

    I started my mapping business with an Iris+ 2 years ago and it is still today, with only new lipos, a very robust solution for small sites. I had one fly away and one broken arm on my early learning time, and I am almost sure now it was my fault. 3DR support gave me right away 2 spare arms at no cost. One year later I complained about suspicious log data about one motor activity, and once again 3DR support took my log, examined it and send me back at no cost a new motor and a new 4 in 1 ESC board, without asking for faulty pieces in exchange. Amazing and quick client support. They had a doubt about motor or ESC, so they send both.

    Still today, my Iris+ fly with my old Sony RX100 camera (300 gr with support) and do bravely my small areas survey here in equatorial Africa, with temperature above 30° C and humidity close to 100%. I have now bigger machines, and planes, but my operators love to work with Iris as it is absolutely trouble free since.

    I did not go to Solo, because it was more, at first glance, a video machine than a survey support. But should 3DR had made a longer autonomy multicopter, I would have take two without hesitation. And the time for me to go to plane, they stopped to sell the Aero-Mapper (Skywalker). So I finally gone away, with regrets.

  • @Doug

    We make copter for the commercial customer, with APm, Pixhawk. Still no losses over the years

  • Wow, so much drama.  Speaking of roots, I recently hacked a ground station that runs on android and does nothing more than receive heading, attitude, position and displays it.  I wouldn't have been able to do that without the work that is on this site and that inspired 3DR.  I don't have any drone dream except to learn a few things.  I do know from experience, that success involves failures along the way.      

  • The reason is fairly clear to me.   The Iris and Iris+ were very poor products, and tech support didn't match their poor failure rate.  They were dangerously underperformant for their own weight, let alone the weight of a payload.   Thus sales were poor....thus customers went away....thus they abandoned consumer market after the Solo.

  • Hello Chris Anderson

    The idea of Chris was to create genius DIY Drones.

    Ingenious was also after some time the developer financially support.
    The Pixhawk super, the iris super. Solo OK. To do with it DJI to harm, has not succeeded. Chris go back to the roots, and they have success again.
    Many, many small companies have used 3DR products, and have existed on the market. Take their developers back on board, and it will be a success.

    It would be necessary Chris: please give an answer here

  • Moderator

    Its truly sad to see the problems that 3DR now have and I wish all the players well for the future. The writing was on the wall for many people in this community when the 3DR customer support (and most of the DIY parts) went away leaving people with a very nasty taste in the mouth and no support for the products they had spent a lot of money to purchase. 

    Rightly or wrongly people felt abandoned by 3DR in their search for the "Big Bucks" instead of building on their very loyal customer base. yes, the purchases were small 300-400$ a  time for a  complete setup BUT these customers came back many times for a new setup for the next aircraft or copter. most would not even consider the Chinese copies and never bought them. 

    I thank 3DR for giving me the opportunity to build my drones and have more fun than I considered possible in the last 6 yrs, I also thank the developers and Micheal Osborne for the work they have done.

    Against that I do feel sorry for the many small business that laid their trust at the feet of 3DR and have now been pushed aside without even a thank you to them or this community. 

    For that 3DR have no excuse. It would have been so easy and so welcome by the community to have a formal explanation and reassurance of what happens to this site for the future. sure, they dont HAVE to do that. and they wont do it because they dont care about the little people.

  • I think when the solo was launched and lot of  things became closed source the DIY community felt abandoned. The DIY community which helped 3DR grow was never interested in a product like solo. it was more about research, components and new ideas. the clientele of DIY and solo is entirely different.

  • @john, I agree with you 100%. that was the way to go. when the pixhawk was launched everything was so good. 3DR could have launched so many products from it's store. like Lidars, gimbals carbon fiber products, CNC machining ADS receivers. 3DR had a reputation. i have never bought a clone pixhawk or a clone APM from china (except to help some college kids). the best way to grow would have been to add more products to it's store. i was sad to see that pixhawk V2 has been launched by a 3rd company where as it was expected from 3DR.

  • Jordi is now doing mRobotics.

  • What's Jordi doing?  Anyone know the circumstances of his leaving shortly after the big venture?

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