It’s about time we give you a proper progress update. We’ve been busy keeping up with the delivery dates we promised, working day and night on a million different things, we’ll be sharing the precise delivery schedule you in a couple of weeks. The real delivery date! In the midst of this maelstrom, we wanted to take a moment to share the latest news surrounding HEXO+.
It’s tough to believe August is here. As you may have seen in our earlier update, we shipped our DIY kits to our Kickstarter backers at the end of June. Since then, we’ve continued to test HEXO+ in cinematographic applications—including shoots with our team. (If you haven’t seen the latest footage, be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay in the loop.) Meetings with pro riders backing the project, such as Ralph Backstrom and Sam Pilgrim, have provided us with valuable feedback. We also recently introduced HEXO+ to the media at an event in Verbier, which is nestled in the Swiss Alps.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the latest rounds of development:
Electronics—With our DIY kits in the hands of backers, we confirmed that all of our electronics are running great. This includes the distribution board, flight controller, components, and our first release of the HEXO+ app. This is especially good news, as it keeps us on track for shipping the units this fall.
Manufacturing Review—We just finished the rheology of the product, meaning that the mechanics of the drone are being reviewed for injection molding. We want to ensure that any adjustments we make while finalizing our manufacturing processes maintain the drone’s strength.
Motors and Custom Propellers—We’ve developed the motors and custom propellers that further enhance the drone’s performance. We couldn’t be happier with how they are performing. Not only do they enable the drone to travel up to 45 mph (70 km/h), they also readily handle flying at altitude. We tested them at 11,800 feet (3,600 meters) at the top of Les 2 Alpes. The motors only ran at 55% of their capacity, meaning they still had plenty of power for additional speed, resisting wind, or climbing higher. The decreased density of air at higher elevations requires that motors work harder to maintain their position or fly. Consequently, the motors and custom propellers are a great development, making HEXO+ an even stronger tool for filming in the mountains. And, needless to say, we’ll continue to test the entire HEXO+ system at altitude.
Embedded Software—Over the last few months, we’ve refined our embedded software. This truly differentiates a prototype from a safe and robust finished product. As part of our efforts, we’ve been testing all of our failsafe behaviors. In the event that a problem occurs while the drone is in flight (like a dying battery or a loss of connection with your phone), these behaviors address the issue in a manner that ensures the safety of you, bystanders, and the drone—there’s no need to worry about your drone suddenly falling from the sky. Equally important, our embedded software contributes to the quality of your footage. By enhancing the drone’s stability and creating smooth movements, our software helps you snag crisp imagery.
The App—The app is where the magic happens. After all, it’s the line of communication between you, the drone, and the camera. Our DIY backers have had the opportunity to use the first release of our HEXO+ app. It includes over sixty-eight different ways to film yourself, including camera movements like Follow, 360, Hover, Slides, and Fly. Check out our latest screenshots.
The app is especially easy to use—you don’t need to be a pilot to fly HEXO+. Thanks to its intuitive design, the app lets you focus on your adventures while we take care of filming them. And although it’s built with a common core, we have versions for both Android and iOS. This has allowed our developers to translate insights from one platform to another while maximizing performance for each one. With the feedback we gathered during focus groups, we’re already working on the next version of the app and the new functionalities we want to add, and there’s some really exciting stuff…
Pressure Sensor—The HEXO+ app also responds to changes in altitude. When you go up and down a mountain, the altitude of the drone adjusts accordingly. This is the result of exceptional hardware and software. We incorporated a pressure sensor into the drone that meets our expectations for measuring altitude accurately and handling changes in it effectively. The result? HEXO+ maintains the desired distance and height between you and the drone in all terrain.
We’ll continue to keep you posted on our progress. If you’re especially curious about a specific aspect of our testing and development, please just let us know in the comments below. We’ll work to have one of our experts field your questions.
Thanks for your continued support.