Drone Fails and Job Losses 2016 -17

Discussion in 'Drone Minds Blogs' started by Jonathan, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan Drone Expert

    Aug 31, 2013
    Drone Aerial Photographer
    #1 Jonathan, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    This week the drone maker Yuneec announced it would be cutting as many as 70% of jobs in the USA, which may come as a bit of a shock to some when it didn't seem that long ago that is secured $60 million in funding from Intel Corp. Yuneec bosses claimed that they upsized their company too quickly, so they are consolidating to make themselves stronger. I guess we shall see, but this is very typical rhetoric for a company that's on its way out. I do hope this is not the case.

    Gopro also announced big cutbacks this week, losing 290 employees from its drone section, which is no doubt directly linked to the massive failure of their too-slow-to-market Karma drone that reportedly was falling from the skies, which resulted in 200 job losses just a few months ago.

    3D Robotics was one of last year's big failures, making lots of promises that they simply couldn't keep, which were backed up by a few die hard fans, and shrouded in dodgy dealings with selling open source software and eventually cutting 150 staff members - i.e. pretty much everyone involved.

    Autel Robotics, makers of the X-Star drone, also cut staff last month, which is disappointing as I had high hopes for this one.

    The French company Parrot, creators of the mediocre Bebop Drone, also announced job losses this year.

    However, I guess one of the biggest stories was the utter failure of the much hyped Lilly drone, resulting in total closure and vast refunds to disappointed investors. I mean, even my non-drone friends knew about this one!

    Other drone companies, present and future, can learn from these failures. Each of the above have failed or are not doing as well for various reasons:

    Yuneec's approach to marketing is appalling. Most of their products are actually pretty good, but the way they market them is terrible. Case in point, last year they announced the release of the Typhoon H at an expo, wowing audiences and the drone community, then took months to actually release the product. They waited so long to get their act together that the market leader, DJI, released their Phantom 4 which completely undermined the Typhoon H in pretty much every way. So, by the time the Typhoon H made it to the shelves it was all but forgotten compared to the Phantom 4. Yuneec's saving grace, the thing which may still save them, is a loyal following of fans and supporters who like the uniqueness of Yuneec.

    Gopro and their Karma drone was just one massive WTF from the outset really. They showed us some mysterious footage, allegedly from their upcoming drone, flying along a stream with some tree branches, then took a whole year to show us the actual drone, which by then was more than a year out of date in its technology and didn't work properly anyway!

    Can no longer find original Gopro drone video on Youtube, so have to link to this crap instead:


    3D Robotics' Solo drone wasn't so bad, it certainly looked the part and had some innovative functions.. or at least they would be innovative if they hadn't been ripped off from open source software. Still, there's no real crime in that if you can get it to work properly. I know some 'high end' drones selling for over $50,000 that are using the same software, and they're getting away with it. No, the Solo problems lie in many promises being broken, most notable selling customers a camera gimbal before they had it to sell. Still, it had a lot of die hard fans, after all it was made in the USA, 'Merica, fuck yeah!', which helped sales a lot. But it also created a demand they couldn't supply and a lot of disappointed customers. Still, it had many loyal supporters to the end - some will even make excuses for it now - so I guess there has to be something to be said for that?

    These discussions were very common: http://3drpilots.com/threads/3dr-out-of-stock-for-solo-and-gimbal.6440/ plus there were quite a few other issues with the Solo. People are still buying them though, unaware of their white elephantness, poor souls.

    Autel, well what can you say - their drones look very much like the Phantom. I don't think you can really 'make it' in the drone world by making something that looks nigh on identical to something that's already out there and leading the market, even if your offering is a little cheaper and a little bit different in function. My God, make your own designs people! Still, it's early days for these guys yet, so who knows?
    Nice features but stupid design:

    Parrot's Bepob drones, 1 and 2, are just 'ok', which doesn't really cut it anymore. I mean, FFS, why would you give the Bebop 2 the exact same camera at the Bebop 1.. then release a fixed wing drone, Disco, again with the same damn camera at just 1080p frame size! I mean, it's like they're all sitting in a room with no windows and no internet - no idea at all what everyone else is doing, hellooooo!
    Not bad looking, but could have been so much better if it was up to date:

    Lily drone, well just LOL - big surprise, a kickstarter drone that promises the Earth fails get get off the ground. That's never happened before, right? What the Hell did they do with all that money? Did these people have any background in drones and robotics or did they just see a bandwagon opportunity, thinking they'd worry about the specifics when the money came in? I think the latter. I think it became a lot bigger than they expected and they just didn't have the knowledge and technology in place to cope.

    Just LOL:

    Anyway, feel free to disagree or discuss any of the above :)

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