I know you haven’t heard from MotionPilot for a while now. Actually, a lot has been going on behind the scenes. Today, we have some pretty big news to share. But before diving into it, I’d like to take this chance to talk a little bit about this whole adventure.
MotionPilot is a project that started in 2016 with some of my friends: Arthur, Benjamin and Thibaut. I had been into FPV (First Person View) since I was 15 years old but never really enjoyed the experience of flying using the classic joystick remote controllers. So we decided to do something about it. We had two objectives: make FPV immersive using motion control and drastically improve the controller’s user interface. Our goal was to build a product that was tailored for FPV.
With the incredible effort of our team, our product started taking shape. Arthur was writing the embedded software, Benjamin was pumping out hundreds of printed circuits boards and I was monopolizing the CAD workbench and 3D printer. We received financial support from several organizations, namely START Lausanne in 2016, Venture-Kick in 2017 and the Federal Polytechnical School of Lausanne (EPFL) in 2018. Their trust enabled us to continue developing our product. After years of hard work and a lot of trial-and-error (let’s not talk about haptic feedback...), we finally had the controller that we wanted: it offered a smooth, immersive and easy to learn flying experience. The drone felt like an extension of your body. Our videos looked so smooth that some pilots didn’t believe they had been recorded with our product. Well, believe me, they were! (shot in full acro mode)
In 2019 we started reaching out to pilots in the field. With the help of Estelle and Ramy, who had started out as beta-testers but ended up joining the team, we spent months travelling Europe. We met many talented pilots and gathered their feedback. With their help and enthusiasm, our product felt closer than ever to be ready for release.
After 4 years of working on this controller, in January 2020, we flew to Shenzhen to meet Frank Wang, DJI’s CEO as well as the whole DJI R&D team for FPV. After a very exciting and intense flight session, we started discussing a partnership. And, as you have probably guessed by now, the partnership went through.
From the beginning, my hope was to enable more people to enjoy FPV, to create a completely new experience for existing pilots and to move the industry forward altogether. Working with DJI in Shenzhen was the perfect fit as we share the same passion for innovation. From product design to mass production, our collaboration ultimately led to the product you discovered a few months ago: the DJI Motion Controller. Qfolab contributed to that process as well.
Together, we are introducing a real game-changer for FPV. The Motion Controller offers an unparalleled immersive flight experience. It is small and sturdy, allowing you to take it everywhere with you. It is easy to learn and allows smooth flying, which is great for filmmaking.
Looking back, this project has been a path with countless challenges. We had our share of doubts and questions. It was unsettling sometimes. Nevertheless, we succeeded by always sticking to our vision. I will remain eternally grateful to those who have supported us during this adventure. I hope that some of you will get to experience this way of flying and hope you will enjoy it as much as we had developing it!
See you in the air,
The MotionPilot R&D team
Tim flying FPV in 2010
RensenFPV and Meli fly with MotionPilot Vector in Innsbruck
MotionPilot Vector and FPV Drone
Getting the drone and remote ready for demo day in Shenzhen
MotionPilot Vector and DJI Motion Controller