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We couldn’t have asked for better at the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference last week in Las Vegas. On Monday we officially announced our groundbreaking new consumer drone — Solo, the world’s first smart drone — and at week’s end we got on our plane with both “Best Drone” and “Best Booth” awards from Videomaker.

As for the conference itself, all week, whenever I was in the booth, I felt like I was caught in an updraft, lifted by the people I spoke to and by all the excited conversation, movement and ideas crackling around me. I didn’t know where all the energy was coming from, but it was everywhere: Our crack flight ops team was on overdrive, zipping in and out of a back room cluttered with boxes, backpacks, cables, laptops and coffee, keeping our brand new Solo fleet tuned pitch-perfect and humming; Solo itself whipped and danced around the flight cage for the crowds and cameras; and the sticks at our Solo kiosks — complete with an interactive version of the app-based flight simulator that will come with Solo — were never empty, unless our CRO Colin Guinn was around, commanding the attention of anyone within line of sight — and when he hit the podium for demos, beyond.


My favorite part was speaking to 3DR fans both new and old who were genuinely excited for our efforts, and to learn about Solo. Some didn’t even recognize the company at first — “Wait, 3DR is 3D Robotics?! I love you guys!” — which I took as the most honest and unfakeable of compliments.

At one point we were worried. A youthful representative of NAB came up to us: “I’ve been told that I need to alert you that the FCC is coming to your booth!”

Had we violated some frequency regulation? Were we too loud? Were the wifi hubs of all of our Solos interfering with other booths? …Uh, trespassing, maybe?

No. They just wanted to say hey.

There was plenty of buzz in our booth from around the conference, too. In particular, I kept hearing about the new BlackMagic micro action camera. Several people approached me to ask if Solo could carry something like that — or the cool Sony camera they’d just learned about; or the Panasonic; or a thermal sensor, and on and on.

A look at Solo in the kiosk.

And now I think this may be the best part, and the source of all of that overwhelming positive energy: Solo suddenly became a hub of hope. Today, no, Solo can’t support that new BlackMagic camera, I’d say, and they’d look disappointed to hear it. But, I’d continue, tomorrow it might.

That’s the beauty of having a powerful and truly open platform: Nothing is locked in, so nothing is impossible. And I think that’s what everyone gets out of attending events like NAB, why there’s so much buzz and excitement year after year: It’s hope for the future. After all, we’re all of us open platforms, built to absorb, assimilate and adapt. And a technology that reflects that capacity isn’t just a piece of technology — we recognize its humanity. That’s where 3DR is headed with Solo: Life After Gravity.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support us, meet us, grill us, interview us, joke with us and just learn about Solo. We can’t wait for next year.