An Interview with Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics

I have a little blog about my experiences with quadcopters called OddCopter.com. I have been so impressed by the recent feature enhancements and popularity of the APM2.5+ platform that I wanted to track down Chris Anderson and see if he would do an interview for my blog. He graciously accepted and here are the results:

An Interview with Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics

I think the interview turned out great and contains some really interesting stuff. Please check it out if you get a chance.

I am fairly new to the DIYDrones community. I have only used the ArduCopter software via the MegaPiratesNG port running on a MultiWii Pro Board. I have a Naza, and when I had tried various open source projects in the past, the altitude hold feature didn't seem to measure up, However, I noticed the recent iterations MegaPiratesNG had huge improvements in Altitude Hold. I also setup and flew a few missions a while back. It was a little scary for me, but it worked great. This has gotten my really excited about getting the real thing and giving it a try! 

Britt

Views: 1924

Comment by Britt on February 22, 2013 at 4:15pm

I don't think I did, but trying the clone has got me wanting the real deal. Also, it can be a bit tedious getting it them to work, but I like to tinker around with stuff that most folks don't.

Comment by J on February 22, 2013 at 6:08pm

"It runs all of the same Arducopter/Arduplane code and was designed by our partners at ETH, technically the University of Zurich."

This board was designed to run software developed at the ETH over the past five years, not Ardupilot.  git clone https://github.com/PX4/Firmware.git

https://pixhawk.ethz.ch/px4/start

My guess (unfortunate that so much guessing has to happen in a supposedly open source project)  is that as much as they would have liked you to build on their superior architecture, they are not interested in support, thus the choice is yours. It's not at all clear to me why you would steamroller over such clean extensible code.

Comment by J on February 22, 2013 at 6:12pm

"I will most likely do a series of blog posts similar to what I did with my “Easy DIY Quad”, where I will go into detail about how I set up and fly a quadcopter piloted by the APM 2.5+."

Have you received or do you plan to receive payments of any kind from 3DRobotics or associates?

Comment by Gary McCray on February 22, 2013 at 6:31pm

Good and germane interview and gives us insight into Chris and 3DR's current and future directions and emerging capabilities.

Comment by Britt on February 22, 2013 at 7:23pm

@J,

I haven't recieved anything from DIYDrones, but I may receive a demo board and would like to be set up as a 3DR affiliate. What I currently get from other affiliate and ad programs covers my hosting costs, but nowhere near pays for the equipment I buy or compensates me for the time I put into blogging.

When I started my blog, I was a total newb, and I found simple, step by step explanations for stuff like setup, wiring, tuning, flashing ESCs, etc. were hard to find. When people started coming to the site it motivated me to stick with it. I mostly post quadcopter related news, do walk-throughs and builds, and some high level informational posts. I only post about stuff that has worked for me and that I think are good products. I think the KK2.0 board and Simonk ESC firmware are both amazing and have posted a lot about them, Recently, a company sent me a demo board that I think is a bit expensive and the firmware needs more development. I will be sending it back and not doing any reviews are walk-throughs.

I tried an earlier version of the Arducopter port and thought unlimited waypoint missions were very cool. But, I felt the altitude hold needed work. I was interested, but not enough to buy a board. The more recent releases obviously rock! It is the first reasonably priced board I have seen that compares with DJI Naza on Alt Hold and Position Hold, yet it has a TON of additional features. I am interested in APM only because I think it offer the most features for the money. Have you checked the price of closed source, unlimited waypoint controllers? Also, it is an American based company who supports the development community. What is there not to like?

I see from your profile that you are an anonymous “DIYDrones Hater”. I hope this helps quell you skepticism. 

Comment by J on February 22, 2013 at 7:51pm

@Britt

Thanks for your candor. I find it a useful site as well. I added the label after perusing the sum total of my posts. I'm an independent noob with no affiliations in the community commercial or otherwise.

"Simonk ESC firmware are both amazing and have posted a lot about them"

Check out  http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1799000

Comment by Britt on February 22, 2013 at 7:53pm

@Kevin Finisterre aka Drone Savant,

My comment was directed @J, not you.

Comment by J on February 22, 2013 at 8:04pm

@DS

Good question. Who knows, this place is crawling with shape shifters & orcs... What I do know is that Kim Jong Il invented the hamburger & unicorns are real.

Comment by J on February 22, 2013 at 8:22pm

"Have you checked the price of closed source, unlimited waypoint controllers?

Openpilot, PX4, & Autopilot are some of the competitors, all have unlimited waypoints. Features can be added relatively easily to a well made system. Openpilot is an open source/community without marketing tricks & "community managers", PX4 wins on architecture; hardware accelerated filter; code, general tech & many others.  Autopilot wins on filter which to me is the most impressive of all. Anyone can lure a herd to adding bunches of features, but this guy has done what no one has done commercial or otherwise AFIK & has open sourced the magic so others can learn his skillful ways.

I agree that if what you are saying is true, APM is catching up to DJI for the mass market, but that tech is quickly becoming obsolete, & 3DRobotics is biggest winner on obsolescence--planned or otherwise. 

"Also, it is an American based company who supports the development community. What is there not to like?"

Lots, look a little deeper...

Comment by Britt on February 22, 2013 at 8:41pm

@J

OpenPilot Revo has not been released yet, but I am sure it will be a great product. The CC3D and Copter Control don't do waypoints on multirotors. PX4 is sold by 3DR. I am not familiar with "Autopilot". Have a link?

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