Latest update on the production of HEXO+ Autonomous Drones!
We’re excited to provide a much-anticipated update on our production process and the launch of HEXO+. We realize many of you have been anxiously awaiting this update. Thank you for your patience. In advance of sharing our most recent news, we needed to wait for a range of answers from our team in order to provide you with the most accurate and relevant information.
As you may or may not know, we have opted to locate our production facility in France. A number of crucial factors guided this decision. As the facility is only a few hours from our R&D lab, our engineers can readily be on-site to help ensure the quality of our electronics and hardware during the manufacturing process. The location of our production facility also allows our team to be on-site during key periods of development and testing.
Transitioning from the prototyping phase to production requires countless adjustments and a relentless commitment to fine-tuning our efforts. Needless to say, this tends to take more time than anticipated, but it is well worth the wait. Simply put, there’s no other way to assure the quality of your HEXO+.
Many of you have asked for more details about the production process. Originally, we thought our team of engineers would be the only ones interested in this information. When they heard of the interest from our friends and backers, they were more than happy to share their knowledge—so here’s the latest scoop on our production:
The production process is divided in three stages, each with a strange acronym:
Keep reading for an overview of these steps and the latest information on our progress.
To pass the EVT, you need to answer a few basic—but crucial—questions with a loud and clear “YES.” Can we build multiple units that all perform as expected? Do these units meet all functional requirements?
This stage comes after the prototyping phase. As the questions suggest, the EVT essentially ensures we can reproduce units that all work with the same performance and functionality. The EVT phase started when we manufactured our DIY kits for approximately 100 of our backers several months ago. This allowed us to test the initial production of our electronic cards. These backers used the cards to build their own drones.
From there, we proceeded with a second round of electronic card production. This marked a huge step forward for us, as it validated that the processes we’ll be using for mass production secure the same results that our engineers attained while building and assembling units in our R&D lab.
Once we validated our engineering, we needed to ensure that we could build a large quantity of units that perform as expected, look great, and meet both our functional and cosmetic requirements. After all, we’ve always been committed to making sure HEXO+ looks as good as it performs—no one wants a unit with wires or components dangling everywhere. As part of the DVT process, we completed the production and assembly of our electronic cards several weeks ago. As of this week, we have already tested most of them, completing test stations and calibrations. Because completing the DVT enables production to proceed, this process is especially satisfying.
Just a few days ago, we guided the team that will be building our units through the process of assembling all of the plastic parts for HEXO+. And we’re proud to announce that the first units fully built and assembled at the factory have now successfully completed their initial flight.
We reached a major milestone in the DVT process after verifying that all of our hardware can be assembled and works exceptionally well together (there are no issues such as vibrations or system failures). Currently, we have team members working in the factory to finalize an initial batch of 30 units. They are making adjustments to the assembly and manufacturing process surrounding our plastic parts. Some of these first 30 units will be sent to our ambassadors for additional testing and to select backers identified as beta testers. At the latest, they should receive their units a week from today. These will be the first HEXO+ units that have officially emerged from production and entered the market ready to film completely autonomously.
Our DVT process focuses heavily on the hardware for HEXO+. Like all hardware, once it’s built and assembled, it’s the real deal and can’t be changed. Updates to software, however, will be available on a regular basis to provide our users with the latest versions of our system. We’re cooking up a ton of new things that will be added to the software between now and Christmas. All updates are free.
You’ll not only have your units before HEXO+ is available on store shelves but you’ll also have the latest development stage with your software. And although we have big plans for further enhancing it, we’d love to hear from you once you start filming. We’re grateful for your feedback and suggestions for the next evolution of our app.
The last step leading up to mass production is the production validation test—and it’s what we’re working on right now. To successfully complete this process, we need to build a large amount of units that function as expected, look great, go together quickly and easily every time, and meet all of our functional and cosmetic requirements—and this needs to be done with great manufacturing metrics. Essentially, this means that our manufacturing process not only produces exceptional results, but also does this efficiently. The PVT is an ongoing process and our final step before we get your HEXO+ unit out of the factory and into your hands.
We’ll be the first to admit—we were a little optimistic about how fast we could reach this step. Nonetheless, we are proud to announce that we are starting it now. We won’t risk speculating about when we will complete the PVT. Please know, however, that we’re getting closer to shipping each day—and we’re super stoked about it.
A few of you have been asking about what your order will include. We’ll deliver each unit in a clean, well-designed package that you can also use to transport your HEXO+. Our packaging is currently being built, but you can catch a glimpse of it from the sample shown below. We needed to ensure that your unit arrives at your house in one piece and is ready to fly. We were not completely satisfied with the level of protection that our first packaging sample provided. Consequently, we modified its structure to make sure your HEXO+ will arrive at your doorstep without a scratch. After numerous crash tests, we’re excited to say that the packaging now meets our standards. It’s ready to protect your HEXO+ on its journey from our factory to your home.
In the next update, we’ll provide you with the scoop on the new personal space on our website, which allows you to update your delivery address and track your order and any upgrades. We’ll also be providing you with news on spare batteries and, as an expression of gratitude for your continued support, a special deal on spare parts and accessories. And last but not least, we expect to have additional information on VAT and import taxes before the next update. We’re in the process of confirming a few details with our logistics manager and can’t wait to be able to share some more good news with you.
Thanks for all of your support and patience. We’ll talk to you soon.
Your HEXO+ team