3DR raises $50M, continues smartphone UAV technology

By Emily Aasand | March 03, 2015

3D Robotics Inc., a personal drone company that provides advanced and easy-to-use consumer drone technology, recently announced a third round of venture financing worth $50 million, led by Qualcomm Inc., a leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies.

“We raised such a big round for two reasons. First, to leverage the extraordinary pace of innovation in the smartphone industry by partnering with the leader there, Qualcomm, with the goal of extending the mobile revolution to the skies,” said 3DR, adding that, “We also wanted to build on our great platform adoption and enable an entire global ecosystem of commercial drone specialist and operators, all creating products and services based on 3DR’s technology.”

Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon processors include sensors, wireless and computer vision, and are compatible for increased performance for 3DR drones.

“By working with Qualcomm Technologies Inc., we can bring advanced computing to the skies at an increasing pace,” said Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR. “Such multi-gigahertz Linux-based onboard computing platforms, combined with state-of-the-art cameras and other sensors and wireless technologies, will allow us to create next-gen drones that are smarter, easier and safer than ever before.”

In early February, 3DR released an open source flight control application, Tower, for its DroidPlanner series. Within the app, customers can create flights by drawing paths on a tablet or by dropping waypoints. The app also provides transmitter-free operation of all 3DR-powered copters and planes from any Android smartphone or tablet, the company said.

“By opening Tower to the public, we’re giving the global community of programmers, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs the ability to drive drone innovation in a very positive manner,” said Colin Guinn, 3DR’s chief revenue officer. “We’re excited to see how people use their talents to improve and innovate on Tower.”

“We envision a future where numerous providers out there will be building apps for drones,” said Brandon Basso, vice president of software engineering. “They want 3DR to do the work of keeping the drone in the air so they can do the rest.”


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