Skydio to Unveil New Dock and Remote Ops Platform for Autonomous Missions
BY Zacc Dukowitz22 November 2022
Skydio has announced the launch of its Skydio Dock, which will be made on December 7 in an event the company is calling Dock Day.
The company also recently rolled out a new service line of business called Skydio Regulatory Services. The service will help organizations build the documentation for their drone programs and provide support to secure waivers for their drone operations.
[We should also mention that all four Skydio 2+ kits are $200 off right now for Skydio’s month-long Black Friday sale—learn more on the Skydio website.]
What to Expect from Skydio’s Dock Day
Skydio first started talking about its dock, a charging station and general homebase for its autonomous drones, back in 2019.
It’s taken some time for the product to become ready to release, but now it finally is. The Skydio Dock will be launched in an event called Dock Day scheduled for 10am-11am PST on Wednesday, December 7.
The Skydio Dock is a lightweight, weatherproof charging station that is so small it can fit inside a carry-on bag. It is self-contained, compact, and can be set up in just a few minutes unlike some larger, more heavy duty docking stations we’ve seen from other companies.
Along with the launch of the dock Skydio will be launching an accompanying Remote Ops platform, allowing pilots to fly remotely from a different location than the drone.
During the Dock Day event, Skydio will share details about its new dock as well as cover ways the company has tackled AI-related challenges for remotely operating drones.
Here’s a schedule for the Dock Day event:
- Overview. Skydio’s CEO Adam Bry shares an update on the company’s vision and progress in reaching it.
- Demo. First look at the Skydio Dock and Skydio Remote Ops platform.
- Use cases and testimonials. Customers share first hand accounts of using the Dock, including real use cases from the field.
- Regulatory guidance. Regulatory leaders cover the ways the dock can actually be used while maintaining compliance with FAA rules.
- Q & A. Live Q & A with Skydio’s CEO and other Skydio leaders
Register here for Skydio’s Dock Day event.
Why Are So Many Drone Companies Releasing Docks?
With the launch of the Skydio Dock, Skydio’s drones will effectively become a drone-in-a-box (DIB) solution, allowing them to be deployed autonomously for various types of commercial drone operations.
DJI also released a dock not too long ago. The DJI Dock came out along with the Matrice 30, the latest model in DJI’s line of professional drones for public safety and commercial operations.
The M30 with the DJI Dock | Credit: DJI
American Robotics and Percepto also have their own DIB solutions. Both have been working with large companies to create programs in which drones constantly monitor important assets, flying autonomous missions to collect visual data then returning to their docks to await the next mission.
And this is the promise of a DIB, or an autonomous drone with its own dock—these drones can constantly monitor a myriad of industrial assets and locations, providing real-time data on their conditions for preventive maintenance.
DIB solutions can also be used for real-time inspections when a problem arises on a power line, or to inspect a cell tower after a hurricane.
In the future, it’s likely we’ll see DIBs strategically located near railroads, power lines, and other kinds of infrastructure, which can be deployed autonomously as needed, allowing for quick damage assessments that will be much faster than having someone drive around in person.
In addition to monitoring and inspections, Skydio has pointed out that a DIB could be used for repeated mapping of construction sites, security patrols of sensitive areas, and keeping drones on call as first responders for emergency situations.
However, although the technology may be ready, regulations still pose a challenge for mass adoption.
To operate a drone in a box you need a BVLOS waiver, because by definition the drone will not be flying with a pilot watching it in person. You may also need waivers for flying over people or moving vehicles, depending on where and how you need to operate.
And this is why American Robotics, Percepto, and most recently Skydio have all secured various waivers to allow them to conduct BVLOS operations—because these permissions are a necessary piece of the viability of any drone that operates from a dock or station. (Indeed, regulatory considerations may have been a contributing factor in Skydio’s delayed rollout of its dock.)
Skydio Regulatory Services
In addition to launching the Skydio Dock soon, Skydio is also rolling out a new business line designed to help companies and organizations navigate the regulatory and bureaucratic complexity that comes with running a drone program.
Called Skydio Regulatory Services, the division will have two lines of service: program documentation and waiver applications.
Program Documentation Services
The deliverables in each of the Program Documentation packages have been developed by experts in the aviation industry who have helped many organizations start and grow successful drone programs. The policy document templates and associated guidebooks help structure your drone program and give you the knowledge to customize it to your unique situation.
Waiver Application Services
Skydio’s Waiver Application service helps your organization unlock advanced operations that can yield increased efficiency and even higher levels of productivity. The regulatory approval process can be daunting. A successful application hinges on thorough program documentation, a description of the operation, a well-constructed safety case, and supporting technical information. Our experienced team of aviation regulatory experts, with a proven track record of success, understand the approval process and will help you to develop your concept of operations to manage risks, providing guidance throughout each phase to simplify the complexity of writing a waiver application.