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|Founders||Chris Anderson, Jordi Muñoz|
|Products||Drone software, drone data analytics|
Number of employees
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.
The company was co-founded as 3D Robotics in 2009 by author and entrepreneur, Chris Anderson, and Mexican engineer Jordi Muñoz. The pair met online through the DIY Drones community, which was originally started by Anderson for aerial vehicle enthusiasts. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
3DR is a founding member of the Dronecode 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. Other notable members are Intel, Qualcomm, Parrot SA and Walkera with funding increasing as new sponsors join.
Since 2012, 3DR has received funding for research, development and expansion from venture capitalists, technology firms, and investors:
- 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
- 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
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.
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