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.
Did arducopter not begin, and spend most of it's "life" up to this point, as a network of of collaborators and contributors volunteering their time to further the code's capabilities?
I don't pretend to know the inner workings of 3DR, but would it be an immoral business practice to temporarily fund these volunteers to dedicate time to the Solo project?
Maybe you two are publicly discussing a matter that you have private knowledge about, but the situation you're describing sounds like a temp hire for a situation that requires temp hires.
@Chris I understand what you are saying. But I do not think Solo is Arducopter for me and many others. It does use a big chunk of Arducopter. You are free to do whatever you wish with your business but as has been noted you have shed many of your Arducopter developers that are not working on Solo and many of those want to get back to doing what they used to do but likely cannot speak here due to the legals clauses they may have signed. I too have heard the noises that the plan is to move to a code base (PX4?) that will not require you to release your code. And who am I to judge. It is what it is.
And I think the unseemly haste that all of this has happened is not a grand plan, or natural progression from medium sized to big, but a fairly drastic restructuring because Solo was very expensive to design, manufacture, market and support and has not sold well in the very tough marketplace created by DJI.
Even with your inclusion of Randy and Tridge (which are a strategic play on 3DRs part) the trend is still very obvious to dropping support for Ardupilot devs. DIYD is your mouthpiece and an advertising platform for 3DR so keeping the the voices (Hamish, Gary, Tom) onboard is a good strategic play from a 3DR corporate standpoint. 3DR does support DroneCode (DC) but you know as well as I do that DC does not fund the Ardupilot devs. 3DR also no longer sells the standalone hardware for the Ardupilot community. So yeah..I'm still thinking 3DR has turned its back on the DIY and Ardupilot Community. You've become very good at spinning your story for 3DR but I think we can drop the altruistic facade.
Chris: That is a very incomplete story. For some reason you decided not to list the fact that we continue to support the Ardupilot lead developers (Andrew Tridgell and Randy MacKay, the Plane and Copter leads), as well as the documentation and community leads (Hamish Willee, Gary Mortimer, Tom Coyle). You also neglected to mention that we also support the broader open source drone community through Dronecode to the tune of an additional $100,000 per year.
Our total investment in open source is nearly $1m/year.
How is that "turning our backs" on the Ardupilot community?
I can't speak to the dozen software engineers that you have at 3DR working on Arducopter but I do think I can list some of the Ardupilot devs that you have let go once you received what you needed to get Solo to market. As I understand it all of the following devs were dropped in 2015 and 2016: Michael Oborne, Robert Lefebvre, Grant Morphet, Leonard Hall, Bill Bonney, David Sidrane, Michael Carpenter, and Philip Rowse. If I were a betting man I’d say that you are transitioning from the open source Ardupilot to PX4 so you can close off your open development.
The writing is on the wall to anyone who pays attention to this community. 3DR grew on the backs of the Ardupilot devs and is now essentially casting them aside. 3DR has gone from the being the DIY hardware provider to not selling anything but Solo related hardware. As a business you have every legal right to do the things you have done, but that doesn’t mean it is morally right.
I may be a small company and a small voice but I no longer support 3DR. Even if 3DR were selling hardware worth buying (which I don’t believe Solo is)….I wouldn’t give them my business given how they have turned their backs on the DIY and Ardupilot communities.
It’s sad to see a David turn into a Goliath. But as they say the bigger they are the harder they fall.
Owner, Falcon Unmanned (FU)
Silver DroneCode Member
I really don't want to weigh in much here, other than to say, that Pixhawk 1/2 and Arducopter are NOT 3DR run...
however, I do want to show my appreciation for the money they have put into it till now.
What 3DR want to do with their business is 100% up to them.
How is Solo not Arducopter? We have more than a dozen software engineers at 3DR working on the Arducopter code that runs on Solo, and it's all being merged back into the Arducopter master.
You may be confusing the Pixhawk 2 hardware, which people in the community do indeed want to pick up (since we're not releasing it ourselves as a stand-alone product) and the Arducopter software. Dronecode is primarily about just that -- code -- not hardware, which is typically the responsibility and purview of the individual members.
As for the professional-grade FCs, yes QC really is spending a lot of money on the Snapdragon Flight platform ;-). It's impressive what a multi-billion dollar company can do when they put their mind to it. We're very happy with our partnership, which allows us to scale in a way that we could not on our own.
Thanks for the clarification. But I think I have to say that Solo is not Arducopter. I am sure you have people working on Solo.
I for one am mulling platforms for IR thermography for proof of concept for people interested in the data side of this potentially interesting industry.
Solo, as such is not interesting to me right now. But people are looking to see where Arducopter is going and whether it is a platform that will continue to be worth building anything around. Right now I see an $800 dev board that you need to supply your own PWM board and build your own firmware while other companies are continuing with the development of the PX4 platform in ways that do seem interesting. I do not see professional grade FCs coming from 3DR any time soon, or even pro grade platforms, with all due respect. Unless QC really spends some money.
But 3DR has been the source of funding for Pixhawk development, with a lot of community input. So people are a little confused and all those 35 logos do not really alleviate the confusion. It is not a big secret that many of the people inolved in the Arducopter project would like to form a new entity to continue with this while you continue with Qualcomm. Would this not make sense?
@Marc: Dronecode is a lot bigger than just 3DR and Qualcomm (full disclosure, Qualcomm is an investor in 3DR). It also includes other silicon providers, such as Intel, and many other drone manufacturers, including Parrot, Yuneec, Walkera and others. See the list below.
All the Dronecode projects are open source, with a range of licences (BSD, GPL, Apache, etc). So all the members support open source. As with all open source consortia, members choose which licences they will support. Qualcomm supports BSD and Apache, while Intel also support GPL. 3DR supports both. And so on...
3DR has more developers internally working on Arducopter (that's what runs Solo) than two years ago by a factor of about five. Externally, we support about the same number of Arducopter developers as two years ago, but fewer than one year ago as our internal teams have taken over many of those functions. All that code goes into the open source repositories -- as far as I know it is impossible to close APM due to the GPL licence, so nobody has any intention or interest in doing that.
With 3DR and Qualcomm forging an alliance that essentially is Dronecode (my interpretation please correct me if I am wrong) how will this work with the existing Arducopter project. For example you cannot even distribute Arducopter firmware for Qualcomm's new flight board. People have to build their own firmware as the libraries are underpinning it are restricted. Not a good sign.
I cannot see Qualcomm being very enthused about truly Open Source platforms as has been defined by the Arducopter GNU licensing, so will there be closed version of the PX4-APM codebase? How many developers does 3DR have working on Arducopter now versus 2 years ago? I hear that there are not very many left.
Like many people I think I am struggling to understand where this is all going, what 3DR is today and what it will be in a year's time and how this will relate to Arducopter and Arduplane. Can and should these efforts actually be taken up by another entity that is not 3DR.