2007 – The Vision
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 Mindstorms kit. 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 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.
2012 – The Community
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 community 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 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.
2014 – The Plan
3DR evolved and took drones mainstream. We introduced our first ready-to-fly consumer product, the IRIS and IRIS+, and took on a broader mission: We help people see the world from above.
2015 – Life After Gravity
In 2015, we launched Solo, the world’s first smart drone, using advanced autonomy and a mobile app to create cinematic shots that would be impossible with manual flight. The name “Solo” came from the fact that the Solo drone allowed you to film shots as an individual that would otherwise require two drone operators working together.
2016 – Solo Turns Pro
In March 2016, we launched Site Scan, the Intuitive, Powerful, and Open aerial analytics platform. We partnered 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.
2019 – Partnership with Yuneec, and launch of 3DR H520-G
In 2018 we were thrilled to announce that we had established a US-based joint venture with Yuneec — a world-leading manufacturer of commercial and consumer UAVs — to bring new products based on the Dronecode platform to market.
With this partnership, 3DR focused on serving the security and open platform needs of US government customers and their vendors in construction, engineering and public safety. Combining Yuneec’s UAV system expertise and manufacturing scale with the capabilities enabled by 3DR’s software, our first product, the 3DR H520-G, became available in February of 2019.
2020 – 3DR 3.0
In December of 2019 Site Scan was acquired by ESRI, becoming part of their ArcGIS Drone Collection. On the heels of that, in January 2020, it was announced 3DR began working with the FAA on creating a new process for Type Certification for small unmanned aerial vehicles.
3DR, having built the world’s premier aerial analytics platform, has again focused on hardware. Having signed a CRADA with the Department of Defense, 3DR today is focused on selling and developing secure UAV hardware solutions for Government and other security-minded customers, and working with companies interested in understanding the regulatory landscape of sUASs and Type Certification.