Shipping and development update

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Shipping and development update

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Greetings from Vantage HQ!  We hope you (in the norther hemisphere) have been having a wonderful summer so far.  Life has been incredibly busy here, but we wanted to give you a short update on our latest progress.

We continue to improve Snap’s software and overall performance:

  • Positioning:  We have further tuned Snap’s GPS location estimation as well as robustness. Snap can now continue to fly safety with multiple sensors failures.
  • Tracking beacon: Speaking of positioning, we are nearly done with an integration of a low-cost off the shelf GPS tracking beacon. This greatly improves Snap’s tracking accuracy and update rate for tracking shots. We’ll be releasing an app update to support this and sharing some video to show off the improved performance soon.
  • Video quality: We have fixed a bug with the EIS that caused an uneven horizon.  This ended up causing a glitch in the yaw, which has also been corrected.  We continue to work on tuning the details of EIS performance, as well as auto white balance and sharpness in 1080 mode.
  • Link performance: We have been investing heavily in squeezing every last bit of performance out of the wireless link between your phone and Snap. We have been working closely with our WiFi module vendor to modify their onboard firmware, as well as defining our own WiFi compliant communication software which massively improves range, reduces video latency, and improves video stream quality.
  • Flight: We have been tuning our flight controller to improve yaw control in all conditions, make movements consistently smooth, improve takeoff and landing, and improve reliability of detecting being held. Our ground avoidance is smarter than ever, and now adaptive to changing weather conditions. 
  • Improved RTH: You can now select whether you want Snap to return back to you or the original takeoff location. We find the latter to be good when taking Snap out kitesurfing and surfing.
  • Android: Our Android Beta is now live and in customer’s hands. We are steadily adding features to bring the Android app up to the same level of functionality as iOS.
  • iOS: We’ve made a large number of tweaks and improvements to the details of the UI and controls. And now it’s iPad compatible as well!
  • Bugs: We continue to find and squash bugs at a superhero pace.

 

Our hardware team is primarily focused on manufacturing, but we also have some exciting new products in the works. Here’s the latest on the hardware front:

  • Tracking rotor set: We have a very exciting announcement coming regarding our tracking rotor set. This alternative rotor set massively increases flight time, top speed, and wind performance. And it reduces noise, packed volume and deployment time. It does this without compromising on safety or durability.
  • Durability.  We continue to refine manufacturing processes to will improve the structural durability of Snap by improving surface preparation techniques, modifying glue application processes, and refining our quality control tests to proactively identify latent issues.

 

 

Now to the question you have all been asking. Shipping.

Our shipping rate has been steadily accelerating, but not at the rate we targeted. This has been slowed by one rather painful hardware bug – an unexpected photonic sensitivity in our barometer, uncovered by a location change. This set us back by two weeks. Additionally, we had a new quality issue with one of our PCBAs that caused the magnetometer to fail after our burn in test. We believe we have this fixed as well.

We currently have shipped approximately 10% of the total pre-orders. At our current rate of acceleration, we expect to complete pre-orders by the end of October. Our assembly crew has more than doubled in the last month, and we continue to bring on more.  We also are ramping overseas manufacturers now to take on building the more straightforward sub-assemblies. All final assembly and quality tests will remain local so we can ensure complete control over quality.

We know this wait is agonizing.  Believe us that we feel it too.  But that pain of waiting is slowly turning more towards excitement as we see more and more videos from Snaps out in the wild.  We love seeing all the moments you have been capturing with Snap, so please keep sending them…your video may even get featured in our next update 😉

 

  • John

    Reply

    Thanks for the much needed update. Disappointing to hear of more delays, but great to hear they lead to improvements in the software and drone.

    Please keep us posted and thanks again.

  • Gizmo2001

    Reply

    That really is exciting news on the Tracking rotor set!!, can you share any photos of the prototypes?.

  • Chris

    Reply

    You have been shipping for more than 3 months and are only 10% through preorders. Yet a week ago you were telling people you were still aiming to complete shipping by end of Sep. I have stayed on your side whenever people have called you out for deception and lies but I don’t know what else to call this. I am losing faith in VR and the only reason I am sticking with it now is I need those advanced tracking options, which still don’t exist for because Android.

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      Sorry if you feel mistreated here. We had a team meeting and discussed where we were and what the most reasonable expectations were, so we sent an update. Before that meeting, the conversation was all about how we could meet our previous goals, not pushing back dates.

  • Scott

    Reply

    Remember when I said in the fall?

  • 777

    Reply

    What will be the range of snap? (CE)

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      In manual control, you should expect a range of 100-150m. However, we have tested it to go much farther in good conditions.

  • Gizmo2001

    Reply

    Hi Folks,
    Below is a copy of one of my recent posts on FB Vantage Robotics Snap discussion group, also you will find there a few unboxing vphotos from mine in the UK.
    I’m simply Blown away by the Snap & I am very pleased I hung in there for the ride & I can’t wait to get my hands on another battery in the next 4-6 weeks(fingers crossed) to explore more of the different modes available, I am sticking with manual for now tas it is SO easy to fly.
    Trust me you won’t be disappointed!!!.
    I will post some videos there in the upcoming days & any jquestions please feel free to ask.

    I’ve just had a couple of quick flights to test my Snap before the battery got to low & I am very impressed about how easy it is to fly!!, the responses are very direct & I quickly realised to slow my movements of my iPhone for smoother flights, once I get my cable for my charger tomorrow(I need a UK plug, not an issue Amazon Prime to the rescue) I will update my firmware & get some more flying in.
    Doug Cochran I’ll send you a message & a link tomorrow buddy.
    Feeling VERY HAPPY 😊

  • Rich

    Reply

    In the Product Details, it says that it can go up to 1 km with the wifi range extender or a DSM controller/module. Will a wifi range extender be available? Potential retail price? Do you have a recommendation for a DSM controller/module? Will you be producing a DSM controller/module in the future specific for the Snap Drone? Thanks for the updates. I pre-ordered early last summer and I am looking forward to getting my hands on it but I definitely need a larger range than 150 meters.

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      Right now, we are focused entirely on filling pre-sale orders. Neither the DSM module or range extender are ready yet, and we don’t have a price estimate available. They will most likely be ready early next year. We will send more info as we have it.

      Thanks!

  • Yoshinori Saeki

    Reply

    Thank you for your email at “Your snap is ready for order”.
    I have paid for snap, if order additional batteries, can I order Snap Bundle to zero and order only $ 99 additional battery?

  • Chuck

    Reply

    will VR still send DSM module free to those (like me) who pre-ordered before (cant remember cut off date) but i did qualify..?

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      The DSM module is still in development, but will be free to all of those earliest pre-sale customers as discussed in earlier posts.

  • Dominik

    Reply

    Hi,

    I wait so long that i get tired to look after that preorder. What i have to to for a refund?

    Thanks

  • John Hall

    Reply

    I am still waiting to see if i ever get one of these, its been close to a couple of years now. Last update i received was on 3/13/2017. So i9 hope you guys have not misplaced my order.

    Still hanging in therte,

    John

  • Rusty

    Reply

    I’ve been intrigued and now a little confused about the alternative rotors. I thought there were a couple of different ones in development – one for long flight and maybe quieter but a different one for speed and wind performance. Made sense that these features would not co-exist in the same rotor but now you speak of all these features in one. Could that be right? I don’t have much claim to engineering expertise but it seems longer flight based on a different rotor alone would necessitate less torque or rpm expenditure where more speed and wind performance would require MORE on-demand torque and/or rpms. Am I wrong?
    On the other hand if all these features are in one rotor-type, whey are they not “Improved” (or “what we ORIGINALLY intended”), rather than “Alternative”. And – the answer to this must be so obvious I’ll be embarrassed for asking but – why are they called “Tracking”?
    As I recall, Snap was originally going to be a 30-minute flyer with hour-flight rotors optional, so I’m pretty excited about getting closer to that elusive dream.

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      Increased flight time and noise reduction are part of the tracking rotors, but not the sole focus. We will later be coming out with another rotor set that really maximizes these two features.

  • Rusty

    Reply

    And an Android question: Is the Beta mainly behind on Autonomous features or also on Bug and Performance Fixes? I have definitely noticed a need for improvement in nearly every area this blog post notes fixes on but until now have not known what to look for in the new version and still don’t know whether to expect it in Android. Pretty sure it still needs help in the Auto-White Balance and I didn’t see two-option RTH but not clear on the others yet. Not really a complaint because I guess Android users are lucky to have Snap at all but we do need to set our expectations appropriately since the blogs and manuals are pretty i-Centric.

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      We started with developing iOS, but are catching up with Android on all fronts. In general though, iOS have been more throughly tested.

  • Gizmo2001

    Reply

    Hi All,
    Just a quick little video today at a height of 150ft over my village, weather wasn’t good so the colours aren’t great but this is not the fault of Snap & it is ridiculously easy to fly & is very smooth.
    I might be putting my Spark up for sale shortly as the Snap keeps impressing me the more time I can spend with it!.
    https://youtu.be/b1tqBcY23UM

  • chuck peck

    Reply

    how will VR handle the hour flight-time i recall hearing/something about?

  • Mark Kedrowski

    Reply

    I preordered in July or August 2015. It was supposedly coming out in the next month or two. Two years later… Only 10% of the preorders shipped out… Tons of excuses wrapped in showmanship… Disappointing. Disgusting. Feels like a real-time immersive version of “The Music Man.”

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      Just to clarify one small point, the pre-sale didn’t start until Sept of 2015, and we were originally hoping to get units 6 months after that. But that does deny the sentiment you are feeling here Mark. Brining a new piece of tech to market is incredibly difficult and complicated, and we apology for trying your patience here. We are moving as fast as can here, and it shouldn’t be too much longer.

  • Scott

    Reply

    Can I get some props for calling it in the last year by saying you guys wouldn’t have this fully shipped by the fall?
    You guys are pretty predicable….

  • Jason Wiggins

    Reply

    In your May 24, 2016 post there was a mention of a free spare battery for the pre-orders. Is that still being honored?

  • lclc

    Reply

    James Squires said “I have noted your account and will make sure you are flying before Oct 1” in 8/15/2017. He also said my order will ship “No later than 10/1/2017” in 7/9/2017. Until today I did not get anything. I will give up the extra battery if you can ship my order right now!

  • Nick

    Reply

    Almost a month since this post. Any chance of a new update? Dont let it be another 2 months before the next one like last time. Ive made my mind. If shipping doesnt impresively improve by the end of october im done. Im sorry but its enough.

  • BillR

    Reply

    Hi I just seen the front end AKA your home page and you can order a Snap as of 10/1017 I don’t know how long this has been available? I thought I read in one of your blogs you put a hold on preorders until everything was all caught up? Are you all caught up? have all of the first set of preorders been shipped?

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      We are shipping the first batch of pre-sale orders. Once they are completed, we will start shipping out this new wave.

  • BillR

    Reply

    A comment on the current Snap web site ordering I looked back at what I paid for my pre-order of snap it was $895.00 this was lower price for doing the pre-order and getting a lower price deal before it goes to the full price of $1,100.00 this was back in 4/16, Now the Snap Bundle is $899.00 before it goes full price of $999.00. AND with a statement of fulfillment of orders by 11/17 also the ability to order a second battery, FYI the SD card is way over priced. With this is all of the pre-orders filled and shipped? I would like to know what type of shipping you are offering and charging in this new ordering? I do like you are now using PayPal as a payment option.

  • BillR

    Reply

    tell me what was slated for each bundle

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      The current pre-sale bundle doesn’t include the extra battery or added accessories that the first pre-sale did.

  • Scott

    Reply

    Ordered November 2015. Still haven’t received A SINGLE THING.

  • Chris

    Reply

    Half way through October, still no shipping email. So when are you releasing the new “we will ship all preorders by end of November” blog?

  • Seth

    Reply

    Congratulations on the news with CNN, the FAA and the Part 107 waiver! It’s great news. It’s been a month since the last broad update though, could we get an update? I’m sure news like the 107 waiver are going to make demand for snap even more and we’d all love to start using snap!

  • John Pirtle

    Reply

    Does only CNN get the Waiver?

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      CNN applied for this waiver, and it is only applicable to them. However, this waiver does represent a big step with the FAA’s relationship to safe drones, and we hope this momentum will pave the wave for more waivers in the future.

  • TIm Smith

    Reply

    Hmmmmmmm October’s almost over… I wonder…… could they do it? could Vantage actually deliver this time??

    Honestly if you guys do, i’ll buy a second Snap. Hell i’ll buy ten more. i mean for rrrreeeeeaaaaalllllll though this endless cycle of anticipation and disappointment is so laughably lengthy at this point i kinda feel like i’m in some sort of cult?? honestly. it’s like i’ve paid a ghost $900 to haunt me and take on the appearance of the world’s coolest drone but every time i try to touch it it evaporates, and as i breath it in, it fills me with a damp, heavy, and utterly inescapable sense of existential dread, doubt and desperation….

    srry i may be over-dramatic, but at the same time i don’t feel like i’m overreacting. HELP ME!!!

  • John

    Reply

    On 10/19 you stated that you would post something shortly. It is now 10/30 and nothing for over a month. Can you at least give us a hint of when shortly is? I know you guys are busy getting these things out, but really, it has been mentioned over and over, just a brief update to let us know where things stand would be appreciated while we suffer waiting in the dark.

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      We are drafting two updates right now. One is on the FAA waiver (which will likely come out first since that is a more static subject), and the other is on shipping. I don’t want to announce anything substantial in the comment section, but it is Oct 30 and you don’t have your unit. It shouldn’t be much longer, but will bleed into Nov.

  • SB

    Reply

    “…we expect to complete pre-orders by the end of October.”

    Update please?

  • Chris

    Reply

    What percentage of orders have been filled?
    What month/year are you upto in shipping?

    Please do not divert or dodge the question, it will take far less time to write a simple number and date. I have lost faith almost all in VR. As there is also no decent reviews online, I find museld asking is the wait really worth it or are we just chumps getting played?

    • James Squires Post author

      Reply

      Sorry Chris. Responding to comments is not the best platform for announcing new information. We are drafting another update on shipping now.

  • John

    Reply

    Thank you. Your quick response is appreciated.

  • Feng Tian Xing

    Reply

    Now October ended, is my drone already shipped out? How can I track it? Thanks.

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