3DR flies its Solo drone to new heights in bid for commercial business

Robotics firm 3DR became a household name thanks its popular Solo drone for aerial photo enthusiasts, and now the company hopes to copy that success in commercial markets. Thanks to partnerships with Autodesk and Sony, 3DR has begun offering full-service solutions to enterprise customers. Initial clients are in the construction and surveying industries, but 3DR plans to extend into agriculture, insurance, and telecom in the future.

“We are the only company that is selling a product that gives you the peace of mind to be successful,” 3DR’s Dan McKinnon told UAS Magazine. McKinnon is the enterprise product manager for 3DR, the person in charge of the company’s push into the commercial space. 3DR’s Solo Enterprise package is built around its standard Solo quadcopter, but outfitted with both specialized hardware and custom software integration, as well as top-notch support.

Like the consumer version of the Solo, each Solo Enterprise drone can use a standard GoPro Hero camera. However, a custom Sony camera with a large, APS-C sensor will be available soon, offering greater resolution and overall higher-quality images.

Each drone is also paired with a Sony tablet and 3DR’s new Site Scan mobile app. Thanks to Autodesk integration, images uploaded to Site Scan can be automatically processed in the cloud and converted into both 2D and 3D renderings. Those renderings, in turn, can be viewed directly in the app on the tablet or imported into various Autodesk applications.

On the support side, a $499 monthly fee grants commercial customers  unlimited, no-wait phone support, seven days a week. 3DR will also perform any maintenance for free, including repairs outside of the warranty period. Should a drone go down during a job, the company will ship a replacement overnight.

The company has also taken steps to ensure the drones are as easy to fly as possible. The Site Scan apps allows operators to simply draw a circle around a job site and the software will automatically plot a flight path. A single Solo Enterprise drone can survey an entire worksite in a fraction of the time required for traditional human crews.

“The mission of the enterprise team is to take this incredible technology we have built in the DIY sector and consumer space and leverage it in the commercial space,” McKinnon told UAS Magazine. “It is just getting to the point where that market is feasible.”

So far, 3DR counts several engineering firms and the state of Colorado among its commercial customers. More information on Solo Enterprise can be found on 3DR’s website.

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