Skydio might not be a household name among drone enthusiasts, but it’s undoubtedly an essential player in the drone market, especially when it comes to the US. Known for the high level of quality and reliability when it comes to their products, Skydio is a name worth paying attention to if you’re interested in high-end drones. On this page, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about Skydio, starting from the company’s origins and up to their latest drone products.
Skydio History and Reputation – A Brief Overview
Skydio has a unique and fascinating history for a drone manufacturer. It came about as a project from several MIT students who met in 2009 when working on developing autonomous drone technology.
After finishing MIT, they went on to work on Google’s Project Wing. Soon after, they founded Skydio. In 2018, the company launched the now-famous R1, which was regarded as a pioneering breakthrough in the consumer industry for autonomous drones. It was also used as a platform for commercial development.
Skydio reached broader recognition in March 2020, when it became the first US drone company to get unicorn status when it surpassed $1 billion in value as an entirely private company. This was deemed a massive success, as the company was dubbed the United States’ biggest hope in the drone war with China.
The Many Applications of Skydio Drones
As a US-based company, Skydio is a very favorable partner for businesses and organizations looking for quality drone products. Skydio drones provide solutions in many different fields, but primarily in:
- Public Safety – According to a 2020 study, 11% of first responders in the US use Skydio drones, making this company a significant contributor in the public safety sector. From search and rescue missions to tactical situational awareness, incident scene reconstruction, and much more, Skydio drones are an invaluable asset for a wide variety of operations.
- Inspection – Skydio’s advanced sense and avoidance technology make their drones an excellent tool for asset inspection. Their drones allow precise close proximity operations of critical infrastructure, allowing for less time spent training and more productivity.
- Defense – Skydio’s products, particularly their X2 drone, which we’ll talk about later, are generally regarded as the ultimate short-range reconnaissance tools in the defense industry. They are durable and rugged but also very intelligent and portable. The X2 drone, in particular, comes with features such as automatic detection and tracking of people and cars, allowing for reliable reconnaissance.
- Axon – Skydio has also recently partnered up with Axon, a renowned company that develops technology and weapons for the military, civilians, and law enforcement organizations. The latter is particularly important in terms of this partnership, as Axon and Skydio are working together on introducing market-leading solutions for law enforcement. The companies aim to provide automated evidence collection and increased situational awareness, among many other things.
Skydio Autonomy – Pioneering Drone Intelligence
Skydio’s AI is different from that of other companies. Most drones base their AI technology around basic obstacle detection systems and waypoint missions. Skydio’s advanced AI uses six 4K cameras to build a detailed 3D map of the drone’s surroundings.
The footage obtained through these cameras goes through advanced deep learning algorithms. These algorithms process it to understand what the cameras are seeing and sends it to the advanced AI software, which acts like the drone’s brain. It uses all of this information to predict the future and make intelligent decisions.
All of this is made possible by many additional features such as motion planning, object and scene recognition, and 360-degree obstacle avoidance. Depending on which Skydio drone you opt for, you can count on many different traits that will make your flying even more precise. This brings us to the main topic of this page.
The Best Skydio Drones
Skydio is undoubtedly a company that heavily emphasizes quality over quantity. You won’t find an exceptionally diverse selection of drone products in their store, but the available drones certainly stand out on the market thanks to their excellent features. Since there are only a couple of Skydio drones, we’ll take a look at each of their products and discuss all of the important features.
The Skydio 2 drone started shipping out in late 2019, early 2020 and quickly gained great popularity for its many great features, primarily for its advanced flying AI. Skydio 2’s giant brain is powered by NVIDIA Tegra TX2, the fastest embedded AI computing currently available. It possesses 256 GPU cores capable of carrying out 1.3 operations per second.
Equally as impressive as the processing power are the six 4K cameras the drone comes equipped with. This system effectively utilizes 45 megapixels of visual sensing, significantly more than other top autonomous drones, such as DJI Mavic 2, which uses an estimated 4.9 megapixels.
The manufacturer lists a flight time of 23 minutes, but you can realistically expect around 20 minutes of reliable flight time without risking depleting your battery completely. The battery is kept in place magnetically and is mounted from the bottom of the drone.
This basically means that the battery is “holding on” from the bottom as the drone is flying through the air and performing acrobatics. This revolutionary design makes battery changes convenient and straightforward.
The drone’s fully autonomous maximum flight speed is listed at 36 mph. But, what’s even more impressive is Skydio 2’s maximum wind speed resistance, which is listed at 25 mph. The drone can fly up to 15,000 ft above sea level and up to 1,640 ft from its controller.
The Skydio 2 comes in four different variations, allowing for great customization, as you can tailor the drone to best suit your needs. Let’s take a closer look at each of Skydio 2’s kits in this detailed table overview:
|Features||Skydio Starter Kit||Skydio 2 Sports Kit||Skydio 2 Cinema Kit||Skydio 2 Pro Kit|
|128GB Micro SD Card||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pro Hard Case||No||No||Yes||Yes|
In addition to all of the features we’ve highlighted in the table above, all Skydio 2 kits come with a warranty, USB-C wall adapter, USB-C charging/data cable, microfiber cloth, and a custom fit hard-shell case.
Additionally, it’s important to mention that to reserve any of these four kits, you have to pay $100. This amount is deducted from the total amount of the purchase. You can also request a refund within 60 days if you change your mind about buying a Skydio drone.
The Skydio X2 is an improved and more feature-rich version of the Skydio 2, built for business. It has a longer expected fly time than the Skydio 2 model, as you can fly it for approximately 35 minutes on one full battery.
When you examine the X2’s features more closely, you can see that this model is primarily meant for organizations and companies rather than individual pilots. It has a fantastic range of up to six miles. Moreover, the drone’s gimbal supports a 180-degree vertical view, and the camera comes with a 360-degree superzoom. The camera supports a 100x zoom with perfect electronic image stabilization.
The drone comes equipped with a FLIR 320×256 thermal camera and can fly day or night. The thermal camera has 4x the resolution compared to their biggest competitors’ flagship model, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise.
The Skydio X2 model comes in two variations, the Skydio X2E and Skydio X2D. Both versions shared the majority of identical features, including weight, autonomy, controller software, and firmware. The only significant differences between the two models boil down to encryption and the type of wireless connection.
Ultimately, if we were to classify the two Skydio products, we’d say that the Skydio 2 is built primarily for fun, while the Skydio X2 is built for work. The latter also comes without a listed price. If you’re interested in purchasing it, you have to contact Skydio directly to get more information.
Skydio Drones – The Final Rundown
There’s no arguing that Skydio drones are among the best quality products in the drone market. They are well-designed, packed with great features, and one of the smartest drones you can find in the current industry.
With that in mind, it’s also clear that Skydio’s products aren’t for everyone. If you’re just starting drone flying as a hobby and want to hone your piloting skills, you shouldn’t pick a Skydio product. There are many less expensive drones you can practice on without breaking the bank.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an advanced drone that can make stunning footage and hold its own even in harsh and challenging environments and are willing to splash out, the drones we talked about are undoubtedly a great choice.
And, with the detailed information we’ve provided you with above, you know everything you should know to make an educated choice when picking one of Skydio’s products. Happy flying!