This is a 5 part series on LINKEDIN on the essential history, products, and competitive trends that are driving the explosive growth in the commercial drone industry. Its content recently won the prestigious Quora knowledge prize and has contributed to articles from Forbes to CNBC.
Instead of some “best, faster, cheaper” analysis, this series will take a deep dive into the history of the consumer drone market and how products have been positioned within it. To understand these products and how they have shaped the market, first let’s look at the major players and their chronology.
We owe “drones” as we now know them to Chris Anderson and DIY Drones (Full Story). In 2008, Chris created the online community DIY Drones to give hobbyist a place to discuss flying robots and offer support/guidance. They borrowed vehicle designs from academia and low-cost electronics from a frenzied cell phone market that had just seen the introduction of the iPhone, but there was a missing piece. The hardest part of making an early drone was attempting a DIY flight computer, so Chris’ newly formed drone company 3DRobotics partnered with a Swiss University (ETH Zurich) to create the PX4 open-hardware platform andArduPilot, a similar, but comparatively less robust system based on the Arduinoprototyping platform.
This dramatically spread interest in quadcopters among hobbyists and created a new branch of the already well-established model aircraft community represented by the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics). So now we have quadcopters, and they’re really fun to build and fly, but we’re still figuring out what to actually do with them. Enter Parrot.
At CES 2010, Parrot introduced the AR.Drone, our first example of excellent product positioning. It was a relatively cheap ($300) and mostly foam toy, designed to be controlled by wifi and a mobile interface. What was the most important word in that last sentence? Toy.
Read the full story written by Andy Putch on LINKEDIN.