3D Robotics was supposed to be the drone manufacturer that could finally take on DJI. But its flagship drone, the Solo, never really became a big hit, and soon after the company exited the consumer business and raised a last-ditch funding round to try to pivot to an enterprise offering.
Well it worked, and now 3DR has found its sweet spot as a provider of software for mapping and surveying construction sites. But until now the software only ran on a dedicated drone made by 3DR, which was a big barrier to entry for some firms.
This changes today - 3DR has just announced that its Site Scan capture software will now work on DJI drones, starting with the Phantom 4 and eventually expanding from there to support other drones in DJI's product line.
This is a big deal for two reasons. First, it means that site operators won't have to buy a new drone just to use 3DR's software, which could make it more affordable for smaller construction companies who would rather have a multipurpose drone like the Phantom 4. It also puts 3DR's software in the hands of a whole new group of people who are comfortable with operating one of DJI's drones, but didn't want to spend time figuring out how to use another product.
It's an interesting partnership, mainly because DJI and 3DR used to be rivals in the consumer drone space.
But now that the two companies have different target audiences a partnership makes sense, especially as they had already worked together on the regulatory side when they were both in the consumer space. So now 3DR can reap the benefits outlined above, while DJI can now say it supports one of the best professional-grade site scanning solutions available.
As part of the integration 3DR will sell a bundled Phantom 4 alongside a license to use their site map toolkit, and will also sell the software individually for people who already have a compatible DJI drone.