Shipping Update

Home NewsShipping Update

Shipping Update

28 Comments

We continue to ship Snaps at an accelerating rate, although we have not been able to do so as quickly as we hoped. Supplier delays and yield issues with PCBAs (printed circuit board assemblies) have been the primary reason for missing our targets. Additionally, a batch of components was unexpectedly held in customs for nearly a month and a key PCB supplier had a fire, both of which further added to PCBA delays.  Because we have just been short on a subset of components, the assembly team has been building large numbers of subassemblies with available components as we await the next PCBA delivery. This will let us move considerably faster once the delayed PCBAs arrive. Our expectation at this point is that we will have most of the units shipped by the end of November and the balance complete by the end of December.

The Wi-Fi board and the magnetometer on the tail board have had our two primary sources of yield problems. We had less than 50% yield in PCBA fab (the step when components are soldered onto PCBs) and additional units failed during our quality control test process. As one would expect, this has significantly reduced our shipping rates. These two issues have been especially thorny, in that we had a few units which made it through our test process and then failed either during shipping or in customer’s hands – not good! We’ve been working with our component suppliers and PCBA fabrication partners to fix the root issues, have updated our burn in process to be even more stringent to make sure to catch borderline units, have updated our pre-flight automated check procedure to ensure we identify these issues before takeoff, and refined our sensor failover algorithms to make sure handle any failures in flight safely.

We have been shipping units internationally to all countries for over a month. We’ve also been picking up speed with battery production and plan to start shipping spare batteries to customers in the next few weeks. We have been shipping a fuselage sleeve in lieu of a case, which is frankly our preferred solution, having used both the case prototypes and the sleeve for many months, as the sleeve is lighter and fastest to deploy. That said, we haven’t forgotten about the case, but have been prioritizing getting everyone units as quickly as possible first. We don’t expect to ship cases until the beginning of next year. For the DSM controller fans out there, we have a unit flying now with DSM and are working on making this integration ready for you. While we know bluetooth game controllers don’t quite have the same feel as DSM controllers, we still find it to be rare for us to want a two stick controller at all, and rarer still that a bluetooth game controller doesn’t meet our needs when we want two stick control. But again, for those of you who want this, we know we promised it at the outset, so we’ll certainly be following through and delivering. We also have prototype Wi-Fi range extenders working well, which are a nice option for anyone to go really big on their manual control shots. One can use off the shelf Wi-Fi repeaters, so we’ll share instructions for implementing your own repeater for anyone who is eager and follow up with a dedicated solution.

The software team has also been hard at work on many fronts. Our Android app is now available on the Google Play store and being used by many customers. It still doesn’t yet have the same scope of features as the iOS app, but we’re continually adding more capabilities to get it caught up.  We’ve had a major communications software update in the works for over seven months now that we expect to be making an announcement on very soon. We’ll also be following up this update with a number of announcements on new tracking modes, improved tracking accuracy, and new flight modes.

While we know this is cold comfort for those of you who are eagerly awaiting your unit, we have been gratified to see all of the videos and positive reviews from our awesome customers who have received their units. A collection of videos shot by customers (Snaptographers?) follows at the end of the post. Here are a few recent comments:

All my friends and family that I have been sharing the videos I am taking are amazed at what Snap can do…  Rest assured, you guys are making an amazing product!

– Giac V

Hello – just received Snap and took it out for a test flight – awesome work people

– Sean O

I tested it at South Point, which is always windy…Winds were gusty and at least 15 mph, maybe more. The Snap had no problem flying into the wind…

– Mark D

I’m simply Blown away by the Snap & I am very pleased I hung in there for the ride… Trust me you won’t be disappointed!!!… Feeling VERY HAPPY 😊

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!

– Gizmo2001

Trust me I am seriously blown away with it!!!!!

– Dale

For everyone waiting to get your unit, it kills us to stretch your patience as we have. We are dedicated to shipping a quality product and doing so has been about 10 times harder than we ever expected, at every step of the way. We will continue to push our suppliers, burn the midnight oil, and expand our feature set until every one of our customers has their Snap and gets to experience the amazing thrill of aerial video made easy. Until then, we thank you as always for your ongoing support, words of encouragement, and for joining us on this ride.

Yours,

Tobin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Matthew Carr

    Reply

    Excellent…
    I can hardly wait!

  • Scott

    Reply

    Ordered November 2015… still no drone.

  • Chris

    Reply

    Is the fly by wire function working yet?
    What is your realistic flight time you have been acheiving?

  • Chris

    Reply

    Yeah I meant Virtual Wire.
    Sorry, what is OAB?
    What is your realistic flight times you have been getting during testing?

    • James Squires

      Reply

      So this is not set in stone, but the current plan is to go in this order: Out and Back (OAB), Orbit, then Virtual Wire.

      Snap’s spec is for a 20 minutes flight time, but we push it to 21 minutes all the time.

  • Gizmo2001

    Reply

    After reading this update a few times there is a lot of information here for those of us lucky enough to have our Snap’s & those who are patiently waiting for theirs.
    On a personal note for myself I”m really pleased to hear about the upcoming second battery & the WiFi extender & info on other repeaters as I feel like I could use more range now & go exploring a little further afield.
    It’s also nice to see more videos being posted from other users & Yes I will get out & some more shot myself.

    I did take some beautiful photos of a sunset over my little village the other night with the Church spire as a marker point for both Good & Bad..
    I got married there 24 years ago & opposite is my local Pub!.
    I’ll let you all work out which is Good or Bad, just in case my Wife reads this – Ouch!.

    Sadly I can’t seem to copy any photos onto this post but maybe James can help?

  • Chuck

    Reply

    There’s no commenting going on in here, where is everyone? Could they all be out flying their new snaps? lol ok…even i didnt think that was funny

  • AdamH

    Reply

    Chuck, I was wondering the same thing. The blog is quiet.

    Still waiting for mine to arrive – three weeks shy of two years of waiting . . .

  • Claudia

    Reply

    Well… as the holidays approach and we still don’t have our Snaps, we must once again start making arrangements for alternative gifts.

    Since absolutely NONE of VantageRobotics’ forecasts have proved remotely accurately, here is a thought to give us some indication as to the progress you are making in actually getting orders out the door. EACH and EVERY day, on your website, have a statement that indicates the order date for which Snaps are being shipped. For example, if you are shipping orders placed on 9/15/2017, the statement would be something like: “We are currently shipping orders made on 9/15/2017.” Heck, since you may be doing a range of days, then post “We are currently shipping orders made from 9/15/2017 to 9/25/2017”

    That is the VERY least you could do to provide some confidence in your latest projections and show some respect to those that have given you nearly $1000 almost 2 years ago and have only received meaningless projections. You could even indicate the percentage of orders that have been fulfilled – example: “We have shipped 3% of the pre-orders”

    I noticed that the “wait list” option is gone and people can place an order with the expectation of having their product in Dec 2017…. all I can say to them is…. “suckers”.

    • James Squires

      Reply

      Sorry to upset you here Claudia. We very much want to get you flying as quickly as possible, and are doing everything in our power to get units out the door. If you are interested in the status of your specific order, shoot us an email at contact@vantagerobotics.com

  • Matthew Carr

    Reply

    As a relative newcomer to the Snap community, my patience level has not yet been tested like Claudia’s apparently has.
    But I believe that her idea of a daily, or even weekly blog post as to the current state of the queue, would take up much less of your valuable time than answering multiple individual emails. And would also provide some insight to those who have been waiting so long. Perhaps keeping them a little less aggravated just knowing that you are doing everything in your power to get units out the door.

    Sometimes just knowing there’s things happening can make people a little more patient and understanding.
    Weeks between updates is just too long…
    Just my 2¢

    • James Squires

      Reply

      Thanks for the input Matthew. In practice, daily updates are more complicated than they sound. But we will continue to search for ways to keep you engaged while you wait.

  • Brad Kingsly

    Reply

    Claudia is right on target! Holding you accountable and smart enough not asking for number of units shipped – just the last order date that was fulfilled – the perfect solution.. I too have been waiting over a year.

    How is it “more complicated than they sound”? Please explain. Look up last ship date in the database of orders, copy the date and paste on website. How complicated is that?

    Here is a sample SQL Statement to get you started.
    SELECT TOP 1 * FROM snap_orders ORDER BY ShipDate desc

    The process could probably be automated in 1 or 2 hours. Contact me if you have problems.

  • Chris

    Reply

    How about a monthly update, yet another one has now passed us. Are you still on track to finish shipping preorders in December or are we looking Jan/Feb now?

  • Mike

    Reply

    Very good comment! Totally agree. “Information” they provide is not actually information.
    And I never got reply from their email about order status too.

  • Chris Choate

    Reply

    I would be happy (or less unhappy) if you would just have a short, one paragraph update every couple of weeks. You can skip all the generic video clips also, at this point they’re repetitive and boring.
    For those interested, I ordered October 15th, 2015 and still waiting…

  • chuck peck

    Reply

    hi james, was wondering if you mail out orders once a week, or do you do a daily mailing of units?

  • James Hattermann

    Reply

    Yep 2 years and waiting ,all talk and no show.

  • Fed Up With Excuses

    Reply

    Hey Tobin, James, Joe – man up and give us the real dates! No long stories with excuses and how hard to build. 2 years is 18 months too long. That 2 week return period is nonsense too. Who’s going to spend time in 25 degrees testing.

    • James Squires

      Reply

      Sorry to try your patience here. We would LOVE to know the exact date that you will get your unit, but the best we have is estimates.

  • Chris

    Reply

    “we will have most of the units shipped by the end of November and the balance complete by the end of December”
    We are 1/4 through Decemeber now and Chris Choate states they are not upto shipping Oct15 yet.
    Will the all preorders ship by December end or not?

    • James Squires

      Reply

      Sorry to frustrate you here Chris. We are moving as fast as we can here, and are doing everything we can to have all units shipped as fast as possible. We will share our shipping expectations as we get a clearer idea of what they are, but it’s not likely that all units will go out this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *