Mexican-American Company Develops Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
By Dialogo January 09, 2013
Mexican-American company 3Drobotics.com is developing the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Quadcopter. Mexican Jordi Muñoz is a young entrepreneur who designed an automatic pilot for UAVs. At age 26 he is a partner of the company that, according to his estimates, should have generated about $4.8 million in revenue by the end of 2012.
According to Informador.com.mx, once the autopilot was created, Muñoz was able to adapt it to design and manufacture UAVs. The Quadcopter is one of the mini helicopters he developed and is the most popular one. It has a GPS system, it travels through programmed coordinates and it has optional parachutes that activate during landing.
This UAV’s applications depend on the creativity and needs of its users. Buyers report that the vehicles have been used to deliver medication in places with difficult access, monitor Palenque Airport in Mexico and high risk areas, check areas at the request of real estate agencies, detect marihuana plantations, or design and construct other robots.
Furthermore, this mini helicopter can be equipped with audio recorders and video cameras to watch real-time images, sensors to measure pollution levels, radars to scan areas and create topographic maps, as well as temperature and radiation sensors in case of fires or nuclear disasters. The goal of the latter application is to minimize human casualties.
According to the same publication, Jordi Muñoz has not registered any of his works, because he believes that patents hinder technological development. However, this has brought success to his company. “It is a strange phenomenon, but it works. You liberate a product for free, and society rewards you with knowledge,” he assured.
This young researcher works under the “open source” system, publishing all of his research on the Internet, so people can access, use, modify or improve it. What is profitable is that, in appreciation for sharing his investigations, users support him with their progress.
“The international community gives me knowledge,” stated Jordi Muñoz, which “helps me offer my product at low prices. A company has to invest thousands of dollars in a design department, devote high salaries to engineers and patent paperwork. I’ve already gotten rid of that economic burden and I’ve turned it into savings for my products. For example, I sell a mini helicopter that costs 5,000 dollars in the market for 200 [dollars]. This way, everyone wins,” he added.
Muñoz’s story as an entrepreneur started when he traveled from Tijuana to Mexico City, where he sought to be admitted to the National Polytechnic Institute to study in the aeronautics program. This was the only institution that taught this specialty. Although he had excellent grades, he was rejected by that institution of higher education and, having no other option, he returned to northern Mexico. Later, he married an American citizen and emmigrated to the United States.
For eight months he was unable to work or study because he was not a resident and needed a Green Card. Muñoz used this time to develop his creations and, in order to share it with other amateurs, he uploaded them to YouTube, where Chris Anderson – director of Wired Magazine – saw one of his videos. Impressed by the young researcher’s work, Anderson decided to create 3Drobotics.com in partnership with Muñoz, a company that already has a branch in the city of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Jordi Muñoz was rewarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the development of his technology as one of the ten Mexican inventors under the age of 35.