Learn about how we made it possible for people all around the world to see their world from a different perspective.
In 2007, Chris Anderson—NY Times best-selling author and at the time the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine—built his first drone at home with his kids using parts from a Lego Mind Machine. He got chills: when a dad and his kids can create military-grade technology on the kitchen table, something fundamental about the world has changed. But what?
The kids quickly tired of the experiments, but Chris went down the rabbit hole and founded DIYDrones.com, which has since grown into the world’s largest open robotics development community.
Through that site Chris met Jordi Muñoz, a 19 year old college dropout & electronics wunderkind from Ensenada, Mexico, who, while bored to tears waiting for his green card to arrive, announced his genius to the DIY community by creating a fully-functioning autopilot using circuitry lifted from a Nintendo Wii remote.
The unlikely pair founded 3D Robotics—the name alludes to the third axis, up, where consumer robots hadn’t yet traveled. They assembled their first UAV kits by hand, then stuffed them in pizza boxes for shipping. But by 2012 3DR’s business had grown well beyond the DIY community. Chris quit his job at Wired to join Jordi as 3DR’s new CEO.
3DR’s global neurosystem of volunteers soon created a world-class universal flight code, called APM. 3DR used this code to develop the Pixhawk, to this day the world’s leading open autopilot platform.This platform now powers systems for of the biggest and most successful UAV companies and research institutes around the world. NASA, for instance—and has been adopted by numerous companies who are changing the way we approach agriculture, real estate, construction, search and rescue, conservation and countless other human endeavors.
3DR turned a huge corner and took our drones mainstream. We introduced our first ready-to-fly consumer products (IRIS and IRIS+) and brought on Colin Guinn, the world’s leading UAV product development expert, to help guide the company into what’s to become the Common Era of drones. We laid claim to a larger purpose: Help people see their world from above.
IRIS+ boasted several easy-to-use fully autonomous features. Now other companies were following 3DR’s every move: We continued to lead the way for commercial applications, partnering with Intel to develop that company’s Edison microprocessor, which provides the kind of additional computing power that will enable drones to do more things for more people in more industries.
In 2015, we launched Solo, the world’s first smart drone. Solo gives life to world-first technologies and professional tools specifically designed to make drone photography easy for beginners and pros alike. And just like smartphones did a decade ago, Solo’s usefulness bleeds from the consumer market into the commercial.
The name "Solo" comes from the fact that the Solo drone allows you to film shots as an individual that would otherwise require two drone operators working together.
The most exciting thing about the current moment, is that no one is really sure where this all will lead. Welcome to Life After Gravity.
In March 2016, we launched Site Scan, the Intuitive, Powerful, and Open aerial analytics platform. We partner with companies such as Sony and Autodesk to provide easy to perform, high resolution reality capture via the Solo drone. The Site Scan platform democratizes aerial data collection, enabling anyone to perform physical asset management and analysis at the worksite.
Site Scan is the complete aerial analytics package. The drone, the intuitive mobile application, and the 3DR cloud. Site Scan offers one-click data collection, with processing and analytics, into tools like Autodesk BIM 360 and InfraWorks 360 that businesses use to plan and manage their worksites every day.
Site Scan takes the best aerial automation tools, developed for the Solo drone, and brings them to the commercial user who needs easy-to-use, high fidelity and replicable data collection from the field.