The latest FPV.One Pilot goggle model from the Croatian manufacturer Orqa was presented in the USA as part of the CES 2022 exhibition in Las Vegas. It is worth noting that this was a strange presentation, since the novelty was presented without any official announcement, and in fact many people learned about the FPV headset from the videos uploaded to the network by the exhibition visitors.
The FPV.One Pilot is now available for purchase from both the Orqa brand store and select retailers such as Pyrodrone, GetFPV, NewBeeDrone for $569 (excluding taxes and shipping). And yesterday, Srdjan Kovacevic, CEO of Orqa, finally published a message in which he spoke in detail about the newly minted FPV FPV.One Pilot goggles, and also explained the company’s long silence (original message):
“First of all, I apologize to our community for not making this post sooner. There has been valid criticism of our radio silence lately, and I regret that. We have set a high bar for transparency and openness, and we must stick to it.
This is my official apology for not being able to communicate as directly as you have been accustomed to do since the inception of the company. The truth is, the last few months have been quite busy and our tiny sales and marketing team has been overstretched, so this announcement came a little later than we wanted. Sorry for this.
So anyway… FPV.One Pilot is finally out. Hooray! ????
Many people are wondering what is it? Why did we release them? What does this mean for our existing products?
Basically, the FPV.One Pilot is an evolution of our first goggles, the (still) awesome FPV.One (V1/Gen1/Mk1, whatever we end up calling them).
When we launched V1, we got a lot of great feedback on how we could make it better. Some updates could affect the software, we could also improve some minor mechanical/electronic design aspects in production, however certain design changes required a bit more engineering and it was far from something that could be done on the fly.
So we started making a list of things we would do differently in the next iteration…
Then in March 2021, we fully felt the harsh effects of the global chip shortage, facing several months of production disruption. As a result, we had to make a number of changes to the design to replace some components that were not available, and it was at that moment that we had an amazing idea: while we are doing this, why not use this time to make other changes to the mechanics and optics? What would be a full and fast mid-cycle FPV.One upgrade. In other words, “if we have a few choice lemons, why not make lemonade.” All this will take us a few months …
We looked at the list of things that we would rework for the next iteration, and… Let’s just say things got out of hand. We then thought, “Okay, let’s just do the bare minimum of things we can do quickly,” but (as it happens) the situation quickly escalated.
In hindsight, this is exactly what you would expect when you let a bunch of perfectionist engineers run wild without proper guidance from an authority figure who really knows how to make Bizznes(TM).
So yes, of course things got out of control, and of course it took longer than “just a few months”. In short, we ended up doing a FULL upgrade that took forever and more as the chip shortage escalated into an all-out global logistics shit-show (Shit-Show) (the technical term that is now officially used).
As a result, FPV.One Pilot was not just a mid-cycle upgrade. They turned out to be massively overhauled hardware, incorporating every design change we could think of at the time. Here is a more or less complete list of changes and improvements compared to V1:
(1) Redesigned printed circuit board (PSB) of the main board (MB):
- all components that cannot be found in the global market have been replaced;
- optimized design for less heat dissipation and more reliable operation;
- power supply electronics moved to a separate printed circuit board (see below);
- removed cooling fan;
- added a high-speed multi-purpose data port (The Portal) located on the front panel.
(2) Completely redesigned power supply:
- the power supply is designed from scratch as a separate printed circuit board;
- much cleaner voltage characteristic;
- overvoltage protection (up to 6S battery inclusive);
- reverse polarity protection.
(3) Completely redesigned optics mechanics:
- added focus adjustment;
- optics redesigned with an emphasis on better sharpness and contrast;
- eliminated cutting corners;
- added a special anti-reflective coating;
- smoother and more reliable IPD mechanics;
(4) Completely redesigned plastic elements:
- the anti-fogging system has been completely redesigned – one fan for each eye;
- more precise, low-profile joysticks;
- improved, more secure strap buckle design;
- removable top cover.
To sum it up, FPV.One Pilot is an evolution of FPV.One (V1) made up of (more or less) easy-to-use components. However, the underlying computing architecture is the same, allowing us to run very similar firmware on both glasses.
Now let’s turn to the key questions that were repeatedly raised by Orqa pilots in our social networks:
- NO, the release of the Orqa FPV.One Pilot FPV headset DOES NOT mean that the “prior model” FPV.One (V1) is fading into the background – it is NOT deprecated; both versions of Orqa FPV.One goggles have almost the same computing core, so the vast majority of updates developed for the “younger” version of FPV.One Pilot will similarly go to the “original” FPV.One (V1);
- YES, FPV.One (V1) is still “forward looking” and “digitally ready”; I’m going to write more about the Orqa digital system in a separate blog, but our digital system will work on all Orqa glasses (and not just Orqa glasses, for that matter).
- So: NO, you don’t need to sell your Orqa FPV.One (V1) goggles because of the availability of a more advanced model – we assure you that you will be able to fly your FPV.One (V1) for many years to come.
This concern was probably caused by a rather unfortunate (and inaccurate) statement that Orqa made on social media a few months ago, where we said something along the lines of: “Aaah, this is the last update for FPV.One.”
In fact, we just had a few months without any bug reports or feature requests for new (practicable) features, resulting in this internal meeting where the conclusion was: “Well, it looks like everyone everyone is finally happy, so I guess we’re done with the fixes and updates, congratulations everyone!” but our marketing managed to turn that into a (completely unnecessary and ultimately inaccurate) statement that this is “The last update “.
Sure, we immediately corrected the inaccurate statement, but by then, the cat had already been released from the bag, and all hell broke loose.
Once again, I apologize for this. What can I say except: we are engineers. We suck at PR and marketing. I’d like to think that we’re getting better and that we’re screwing up a lot less than we did when we first started this, but let’s face it, we still suck. Excuse us for that, we are working on getting better every day. ????
So let me make it official, once again: we will continue to support FPV.One (V1).
Another thing that has surfaced several times on social groups is that the FOV FPV.One Pilot is smaller than the FPV.One (V1). That’s right, it’s really a little smaller.
As I said, we completely redesigned the optics, sacrificing some virtual image size (visible FOV) in favor of image quality, and at the same time fixed an issue in FPV.One (V1) where the corners of the virtual image were cut off (out of view) for some people.
I’m planning on writing a whole blog post about optics as it’s a topic I’m particularly passionate about, but in short, for FPV.One Pilot we decided to trade some of that huge visible FOV in FPV.One (V1) for some quality improvements images (primarily MTF and contrast), which ultimately resulted in a beautiful image that is even sharper than in FPV.One (V1).
The logic was: we have these beautiful, super-expensive OLED displays (it’s the single most expensive item on the spec), so why not get the best out of them? Ultimately, we decided that reducing the diagonal of the virtual image by 3 mm was worth the gain in image quality. Plus: no more cut corners.
As I said above, I’m going to do two more detailed blog posts regarding (1) the Orqa digital systems we talked about at CES in early January, and (2) the optics; if you have questions that weren’t covered here, we’re planning to have a Q&A session in the last week of January, we’ll be happy to answer all questions there.
Thanks again for the support guys, you are amazing, we love you!
ORQA is a young high-tech Croatian company developing next generation visualization systems for First Person View (FPV) and Remote Reality (RR) applications. Founded in 2018 by Srdjan Kovacevic, Ivan Jelusic and Vlatko Matijevic. The company is based in the eastern part of Croatia, in the city of Osijek.
They first made themselves known at CES in Las Vegas in January 2019, with the prototype of today’s revolutionary FPV goggles for racing drone pilots – Orqa FPV.One. On June 15, 2019, the company announced a fundraiser on Kickstarter to launch the serial production of FPV.One, where after two minutes the required amount was collected, and after five minutes the starting amount was exceeded by 200%. In January 2020, the company began shipping the first batches of FPV.One goggles to its customers.
Orqa is one of the few companies in the FPV market that designs almost everything in-house: mechanical engineering, electronics design, radio design, firmware development, optics design, prototyping, etc. All products of this company are labeled “Made in Europe”, since everything except microdisplays is made in Osijek.
The prototyping lab provides high quality equipment such as FDM Stratsys F170 3D printer, SLS Formiga P110 Velocis large 3D printer, modern laser cutters and CNC machines, and other related equipment needed for hardware device development. In addition, Orqa owns high-tech RF design and testing tools. Among other things, the main difference of this company from the rest is the desire for constant two-way interaction with the client and adaptation to his needs, which is very rare for the global market.
We continue to monitor incoming information. A full review will be made later, and as soon as it passes the test of practice, we will add it to our rating.