3D Robotics

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IndustryDrone software
Founded2009; 13 years ago (2009)
FoundersChris Anderson, Jordi Muñoz
HeadquartersBerkeley, California
ProductsDrone software, drone data analytics
BrandsSite Scan
Number of employees

3DR is an American company headquartered in Berkeley, California[1] that makes enterprise drone software for construction, engineering and mining firms, along with government agencies.[2]

Prior to 2016, the company designed and marketed commercial and recreational unmanned aerial vehicles. They produced consumer drones, ready-to-fly quadcopters for aerial photography and mapping, and fixed-wing UAVs based on the Ardupilot platform. As of September, 2016, 3DR and the major open source Ardupilot development community separated due to disagreements over the license of the open source code which 3DR products are based upon.[3]

The company was co-founded as 3D Robotics in 2009 by author and entrepreneur, Chris Anderson, and Mexican engineer Jordi Muñoz.[4] The pair met online through the DIY Drones community, which was originally started by Anderson for aerial vehicle enthusiasts.[5] Muñoz, at the time a 20-year-old Mexican immigrant who had just arrived in the United States, was waiting for a green card, so he passed time by building a drone prototype in his garage out of a video gaming console's remote controls. When Anderson read the online updates and was impressed by the prototype's designs, he sent a $500 check to Muñoz and began to collaborate with him.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles[edit]

Solo Drone. Released in May 2015 and marketed to the consumer and professional aerial photography market. It is powered by two computers and designed specifically for the GoPro Hero camera. The aim with the SOLO drone is simplicity for both flying and taking professional aerial photos and video.[6]

Chris Anderson (left), Co-founder & CEO of 3D Robotics

IRIS+ Drone. Released in September 2014 and was designed for the recreational drone market and with an additional GoPro camera it can capture some aerial photos and videos. This UAV comes ready to fly, it can travel at 40 miles per hour and reach distances of up to 3,280 feet.[7]

X8 Quadcopter. Released in November 2014, the X8 quadcopter has a modular design and comes in 2 versions. The X8+ with gimbal and GoPro camera is aimed towards aerial photography and cinematography while the X8-M quadcopter is intended for mapping applications. Both X8 versions feature advanced waypoint navigation technology.[8]

AERO-M Fixed Wing UAV. Released in November 2014, the Aero-M is a fully automated mapping platform that creates georeferenced and orthorectified mosaics. This fixed wing drone has a flight time of up to 40 minutes and is able to photograph an area of up to 250 acres per flight. The Pix4D software allows for the creation of georeferenced, photogrammetry and orthorectified mosaics from the images. The Aero-M is a commercial UAV with industries such as farming, construction and conservation benefiting from the creation of geo-referenced maps.[9]

As of March 2016, 3DR announced that they no longer produce any drones. In response to the company stopping producing hardware, a former employee interviewed in Forbes magazine in 2016 is quoted as saying "3DR was a $100 million blunder based on ineptitude.”[2]

Flight controllers[edit]

In addition to its Site Scan platform, 3DR makes professional flight controllers intended for multi-rotor stabilization control of various platforms or heavy payloads in aerial photography, mapping, and personal enjoyment. In addition to the main Pixhawk flight controller model, there is also the less robust APM 2.6 model. Pixhawk is an advanced autopilot system designed by the PX4 open-hardware project and manufactured by 3DR. It features processor and sensor technology from ST Microelectronics® and a NuttX real-time operating system. The APM 2.6 is an open source autopilot system. It allows the user to turn fixed, rotary wing or multirotor vehicles, including cars and boats, into a fully autonomous vehicle capable of performing programmed GPS missions with waypoints.[citation needed]


3DR is a founding member of the Dronecode[10] Consortium, a non-profit organization governed by the Linux Foundation. It was formed in 2014 with the goal of using open source Linux for the benefit of users with affordable and more reliable UAV software.[11] Other notable members are Intel, Qualcomm, Parrot SA and Walkera with funding increasing as new sponsors join.[12][13]


Since 2012, 3DR has received funding for research, development and expansion from venture capitalists, technology firms, and investors:[14]

  • December 2012 - 3DR raise US$5 million from True Ventures and AlphaTech Ventures
  • September 2013 - 3DR announce $30 million Series B funding from the Foundry Group, True Ventures, AlphaTech Ventures, and SK Ventures
  • September 2014 - 3DR announce an undisclosed investment from Richard Branson[15]
  • February 2015 - 3DR raise $50 million Series C round led by Qualcomm Ventures, True Ventures, OATV, Mayfield, and Shea Ventures
  • April 2015 - 3DR raise $14 million from WestSummit Capital, SanDisk Ventures and Atlantic Bridge Ventures
  • April 2017 - 3DR raise $53 million Series D to continue building Site Scan, its drone data platform

Partnership with DJI[edit]

On 1 August 2017, 3DR announced a partnership with DJI, the global leader in drone manufacturing. 3DR integrated its Site Scan software with DJI's drones.[16]


  1. ^ "3D Robotics - About Us". Archived from the original on 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2014-11-18.
  2. ^ a b "Behind the Crash of 3D Robotics, North America's Most Promising Drone Company".
  3. ^ "ArduPilot and DroneCode part ways". 9 September 2016.
  4. ^ "A Hot-Shot Magazine Editor And A Tijuana Teenager Met Online And Made $5 Million Building Drones". Business Insider. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Jordi Muñoz Wants You to Have a Drone of Your Own". Business Insider. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "3D Robotics New Solo Drone Promises Hollywood Quality Photos". NBC News. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  7. ^ "What You Should Know About the Iris+ Quadcopter". National Geographic Voices. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "X8 Quadcopter For Aerial Photography And Mapping". DroneZon.com. 28 February 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  9. ^ "3DR Aero-M Drone For Visual Spectrum Aerial Maps". BHPhotovideo.com. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  10. ^ "Dronecode Project". Dronecode. Archived from the original on December 3, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  11. ^ "Linux bids for UAV World Domination". theregister.co.uk. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "Dronecode Sponsors". Dronecode.org. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "Open Source Dronecode Project Attracts New Investment and Members". Dronecode.org. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  14. ^ "Big Investment In Drones Giving Sector Real Momentum". DroneZon.com. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  15. ^ "Richard Branson Invests In Drone Company 3D Robotics". GeekWire. 16 September 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "America's top drone company couldn't beat China's DJI, so now they're partners".

External links[edit]