3DR’s Guinn talks UAV challenges, future, reason for excitement

By Luke Geiver | May 28, 2015

Colin Guinn, chief revenue officer for drone developer and manufacturer 3D Robotics, recently sat down with our team at UAS Magazine to talk challenges, opportunities and reason for excitement in the ever evolving drone industry. The following is an edited-for-context version of the conversation.

What are you and the 3DR team excited about?

What I’m really excited about right now is the pace of innovation in this industry and how many small companies are developing these really incredible technologies. That is one of the biggest aspects of Solo (3DR newest, most advanced small unmanned aerial vehicle). We wanted to build a platform that we could take to market in really high volume. We wanted to give people building consumer, post-consumer and industrial drone payloads and platform elements a drone to supply product to that would be sold at high quantities.

I’m really excited about Solo being a really accessible platform that will get very advanced over time. (The platform features a gimbal and accessory bay to accommodate everything from imaging sensors to computer connectivity options).

How has 3DR changed over the years?

In the past, it [making UAVs] was very complex. People were soldering pieces of equipment together on their own to make autopilots. Today it is much different. With Solo, we have the best of both worlds. We have a system that can fly five minutes out of the box. It can also be modified in many ways and is by far the most advanced drone with the built in Linux computers. We still see the industry the same as we did when we started.

To date, what does the 3DR team consider to be its major accomplishments?

Our biggest accomplishment to date is probably building out the DIY drone community into such a powerful and thriving community of developers. Some companies have two to three PhD-level engineers. We have well over 100 that are working on open source as their passion project. It is not what they do for work, it is what they love to do.

Identify one major challenge for 3DR

The challenge for us going forward is really trying to stay attuned to the industry, from our developers to our consumers. We serve our developers, we serve commercial and we serve consumers. We are trying to pick the right areas of technological improvement that make sure that it pays for research and development without having to increase prices.

How would you describe the current story of 3DR?

I think it is important that people understand that we are trying to develop a product that emphasizes UX (user experience). Every single decision and step of the way is guided by that. We write it on our walls, the ideas that UX is greater than schedule and greater than margin. We want to give a great user experience that is what we are after with Solo.