3D Robotics co-founder Chris Anderson is probably the closest thing the drone world has to a prophet. Back in September, the former WIRED editor lambasted the “mass jackassery” of reckless flying and predicted such antics would hurt the industry. Sure enough, more than a month later, the FAA announced a crackdown on drones with a new registry.
“[It’s] bad and it’s going to get worse,” Anderson said “And if we don’t do something about it, no one’s been killed yet, but someone’s going to do something really stupid” — alluding to all the recent incidents involving drones in places they shouldn’t be, whether it be a crowded tennis stadium, three drones in three days near JFK Airport, or drones interfering with firefighters.
Now Anderson is taking a tough yet wistful look at the world of drone crowdfunding by posting a graph on his blog detailing the many delays that plague the projects he has backed.
“I don’t regret funding any of them, since I like encouraging these sorts of projects and I learn a lot from their updates,” he wrote.
Anderson detailed drone delays in a publicly-available spreadsheet that, true to his nature, is also crowd-sourced — he is encouraging others to add to it.
“It’s worth noting that none of these have arrived yet (with the exception of the disastrous Pocketdrone, the less said about the better), so these bars will rise,” Anderson predicted, taking a hard look at crowdfunded UAV projects that still have not produced significant results by their promised dates.
Anderson pulls no punches, calling some projects “dead.” For the beleaguered project Zano, which suffered the loss of CEO Ivan Reedman last week, Anderson declared Europe’s largest drone Kickstarter kaput – “appears to be dead” — after a seven-month delay.
Other delayed crowdfunded drones include XPlusOne (five months), Airdog (12 months) and Hexo+ (6 months). Although these projects experienced delays, many are still alive and viable. XPlusOne received a fresh infusion of capital — $10 million – after xCraft founders JD Claridge and Charles Manning appeared on the ABC hit show Shark Tank to pitch both XPlusOne and Phone Drone.
Despite its half-year delay, Hexo+ raise around $1.3 million in its first round of capital raising on Kickstarter as well as a recent investment of $3 million by Living Water Investment Corp, bringing the company’s total capital to $5 million.
PocketDrone seemed to especially disappoint Anderson, who rated it a “fiasco – now shut down.”
Robot Dragonfly won the tardy award with a 29-month delay and Anderson dubbed the project “dead. However, Anderson emphasized he’s not bitter about the delays nor does he have regrets.
“I admire the work that it took into getting that far, and I’ll keep backing them. This is my charity work,” he said. “It bears repeating: Drones Are Hard.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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