HEXO+ Production Update

Latest update on the production of HEXO+ Autonomous Drones!

Hi All,

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.

Made in France

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.

Production Floor

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+.

Inspection

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:

  • EVT—Engineering Validation Test
  • DVT—Design Validation Test
  • PVT—Production Validation Test

Keep reading for an overview of these steps and the latest information on our progress.

Engineering Validation Test

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.

Hexo+ PartsEngineer

Design Validation Test

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.

inspection

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.

Hardware and Software

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.

Production Validation Test

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.

Hexo+ Packaging

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.

box open box

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

Twitter: @hexopluslive  –  Instagram: @hexopluslive  –  Facebook: hexoplus

 

 

Comments/Discussions

  • Tony

    Love the fourth picture down… all processes need a guy to stand hand on hips and watch the worker! :0)

    • Eugene

      Hahaha…yes the hands on hips is very important in this stage. Very very important.

  • Randy Chrisman

    So when do we get them???

    • Hexoplus

      Randy, we expect to be sending our first units as soon as the PVT step is validated which is currently in progress. We will give update as soon as we have some, thanks for your patience.

  • LS Bob

    Blue is the new Black?

    • Chrism

      Agreed- why is it blue when believed it would be black all along?

      • Eugene

        Double Agreed, I believed it to be black also. Ultimately it doesn’t matter but I did really like the black futuristic robocop look. Black! Black! Black! Black! Just kidding I don’t want to incite a riot over color:/ Good work Hexo+ guys and gals can’t wait to see mine.

        Best,
        Eugene

        P.S. But seriously…get back to us on the color situation -_-

        P.P.S. 🙂

  • Tim

    I have asked before – are we allowed to use the Hexo+ in French ski resorts (Alpe d’Huez specifically)? What is the law? Does anyone know?

    • Antoine Level

      Hi Tim,

      Usage of drones in France is regulated and depends if you want to use it for personal use or professional one. You can find more information for personal use in France here: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Regles-d-usage-d-un-drone-de,41722.html

      In ski resorts in France, unless this is a private area or with controlled access (people aware that drones are flying above) you won’t be allowed to fly your drone. Howvere some resorts are working to have dedicated areas for drones.

  • Tim

    Am I right in saying that the battery only lasts for 15mins? If so, this is a huge limitation on what it can be used for. I hope that I am wrong!

    • Antoine Level

      This is right Tim – in-line with what we always said. 15 mins is what is being done today for such drones carrying a gimbal and action camera. It also depends on how fast you are moving, and at which altitude. 15 mins might be very long to shoot a video as well since you might want to get different points of views to edit your videos.

  • Robert Stehlik

    Looks good, thank you for the update. It’s refreshing to see consumer electronics that are not made in China, I’m looking forward to getting my drone, hopefully soon.

    • Hexoplus

      thanks Robert, we’re looking also forward to seeing your aerial footage pretty soon.

  • emminentt

    Looking forward to it!

  • Berk S

    So when? the delay goes on with a series of manufacturing lingo (don’t care – what have you been doing up to the end of Sept anyway?) and making sure the box to send it to us is right. We mandate and require a firm date. I think enough is enough – how does one initiate a refund?

    • Hexoplus

      Berk, we don’t want to risk to give a date as it seems each step can take longer than expected, we owe you guys transparency and the update described each steps and where we’re at, more updates coming soon. It’s getting closer and all components for backers and pre orders have been sourced already.

  • Faizal Tan

    Hi Guys, just want to know if my Hexo is in need of repair in the future, where is the service center? I live in Singapore. And what’s the warranty like? 1 month? 🙂 Can’t wait for my bird to arrive.

  • jmueller

    Since cancelling is not wanted by HEXO: If anyone is interested in my pre-order ready to film package (3d gimbal, hero4 silver upgrades) please send me a message.

  • LS Bob

    The issue have with the timing of this is there are real products (ships in 7 to 10 days) that sound like they are much more advanced than this one. https://store.3drobotics.com/products/solo For the amount I have invested in Hexo+ I could have one of those in a couple weeks. I did get an email about last chance to change address which kinda made me think this would be shipping soon.

  • Erik

    Hi Hexo+ team. Want to let you know that you are doing an amazing job! Keep to the quality and standards you would expect from a product. Delay is for sure something nobody wants, but I judge you more on the transparency and the commitment you guys are in with! This is way more valuable! Keep going! Erik

  • Friso Huisman

    Hello Hexo, I’m a Kickstarter backer from the start. Promise after promise about a delivery date was given…and broken. Now, in this article, you don’t even bother to mention a delivery date at all. It’s very, very disappointing. I’m very, very disappointed. Stop the blabla, deliver on your promises.

    • Hexoplus

      Friso, we understand your position and it seems also an eternity to us.
      This update comes for clarification on the whole production process and to answer our backers community which asked about getting more info of the process as that comes within kickstarter bound that we have with our community. As soon as we have dates confirmed we’ll release it. thanks for your patience

  • Josh Absenger

    Hello my name is josh absenger.
    Also backer from the beginning,
    I orderd a ready to fly drone incl. 3d gimbal… I paid 200 dollar extra.
    Now i got an email of you guys which incl. Only 2 d gimbal…
    Please recognize that in the shipping.
    I orderd 3D gimbal! Thanks Guys

    • Antoine Level

      Hello Josh,
      Thanks for your post. The mention on the mail you received is from kickstarter with your initial pledge. We have taken into account your upgrade. You can see it if you connect on your account on our web site. You can take alsi this opportunity to add spare parts like batteries and propellers.
      Let us know if we can help further.

    • Antoine Level

      Hello Josh,
      Thanks for your post. The mention on the mail you received is from kickstarter with your initial pledge. We have taken into account your upgrade. You can see it if you connect on your account on our web site. You can take also this opportunity to add spare parts like batteries and propellers.
      Let us know if we can help further.

  • JC

    So for those of you looking for an ETA, you won’t find one (what
    better way to hit your ETA, just remove it all together!). But, based on
    the HEXO+ teams comments on FaceBook. Beta tester units will begin
    shipping in the next two weeks. The rest of us sometime after that. No
    date is given other than (hopefully) before xmas.

    For those of you who want out, try and sell your package here, on the
    blog, and FaceBook. I resold my package within in a week. Now I have
    one upset buyer waiting since the HEXO+ team can’t even supply an ETA.
    Glad I got out.

    • Hexoplus

      here is the infos we’re sharing, that’s as accurate as it can be. We are at final stage of production launch validation, beta testers units are getting sent as I write. We expect to be able to start shipping first units early November. Once the first 100 units are validated we’ll be aiming at producing 500 units per week.
      On a first come first served policy, backers will be delivered first then pre-order.

      When we give ETA people understand delivery date, this is the reason we don’t give delivery date, but instead explain where we stand in the process, what’s next and how the plan is if everything run smooth. We don’t have crystal ball and are doing our best to move fwd as fast as possible. Thanks for your earlier support,
      best
      Jennifer from the HEXO+ team

  • I’m one of the backers but don’t need this drone anymore. I’m selling it at the kickstarter price. Contact me to get it

Eva
Eva's our ever good-spirited, globetrotting and ever-demanding Product Owner. She oversees everything from software, hardware, app, packaging to the smallest details of the website copy. The kingpin if you like, no less.