New Firmware Update Adds Panorama Skill, Other New Features to Skydio 2+
BY Zacc Dukowitz18 January 2023
Skydio just released a major firmware update for its Skydio 2+.
One of the biggest new features that comes with the update is the addition of the Panorama skill, a flight skill that lets you take horizontal, vertical, and spherical panoramic shots. The update also provides new features for the Scout skill, the Keyframe skill, as well as several other upgrades.
Watch the video below for an overview, and keep reading to get all the details.
What Are Skydio Flight Skills?
Flight skills are autonomous flying modes made to let users capture specific shots or have their drone fly in a specific kind of way.
The first flight skill Skydio released was Keyframe. It was unveiled along with the Skydio 2+ just about one year at CES 2023.
Keyframe lets users set a specific flight path defined by key shots, or frames, and then the drone flies that path autonomously to create a smooth video of it. Real estate marketing is one of the most popular use cases for Keyframe, but it’s also good for general aerial cinematography.
The second flight skill Skydio released was Scout, which came out in September of last year.
Scout lets users establish a tether between the drone and either its controller or a beacon, allowing it to follow a subject autonomously.
With this firmware update, Skydio has now added a third flight skill—Panorama—along with providing new features for both the Keyframe and Scout skills.
New Panorama Skill
The Panorama skill is almost exactly what it sounds like—it’s a new skill that lets you take horizontal, vertical, and spherical panoramic photos.
Using the Panorama skill, you can take horizontal shots that let you capture large areas of interest in a single image. These could be useful for work in real estate and construction, allowing a large area of land or construction project to be seen in one photo.
You can also use the Panorama skill to capture sweeping vertical shots, getting a lot more into an image to capture scenic promotional content or shots for social media.
But the last option that comes with Panorama—spherical, or 360° images—stands out as a fairly unique offering. Spherical shots let you take a true 360° image, collecting data that can be viewed in a 3rd party interactive viewer (if you like) so that you can click around to explore the fully stitched 360° image. Just one thing to note about these images—it’s important to allow the stitching to complete before you power off your drone.
Keyframe Skill Updates
The firmware update also brings two new upgrades to the Keyframe skill—the ability to adjust the keyframe roll and increased keyframe accuracy.
An illustration of the Keyframe skill allowing the drone to follow a flight path based on key shots
Adjusting Keyframe Roll
With this update, you can now adjust the camera roll along its autonomous flight path while flying in Keyframe.
This enhanced gimbal control comes in three different styles:
- Playback style—Dynamic mode. Simulate automatic dynamic shots by having the drone automatically roll the gimbal angle during flight.
- Playback style—Recorded. Lets you set the gimbal angle at keyframe points so that the gimbal roll smoothly transitions between these points.
- Playback style—Free look. Lets you manually control the gimbal roll with the right wheel or paddle.
Increased Keyframe Accuracy
The update also improves the drone’s locational accuracy while in Keyframe, significantly reducing drift in the Keyframe skill.
This skill is useful both for replaying—or re-flying—the same flight paths in Keyframe, so that your path stays much closer to the original over time. It’s also useful for longer distances, helping the drone stay on the path you originally intended while in Keyframe.
A note about this new locational accuracy in Keyframe: it’s important to launch the drone from the same position and orientation when performing a Keyframe across multiple flight paths.
Scout Skill Updates
The Scout skill provides GPS-guided overwatch of either the controller or the Skydio beacon, letting the drone trail a subject at set distance.
There are two upgrades to the Scout skill in the new firmware upgrade—the ability to add an AR marker over the tracked subject and the addition of two options for how the drone flies relative to the subject.
AR Marker for the Tracked Subject
The addition of an AR marker over the tracked subject allows you to see the subject on your screen.
It also allows the drone operator to orient themselves to the tracked GPS while in flight a lot more easily.
Two New Positioning Behavior Options
Here are the two options you now have for how the drone positions itself relative to the subject while in Scout:
- Fixed. This setting keeps your drone on a tether, but the drone will not automatically rotate if the subject changes direction. Instead, the drone will continue to track the subject while its perspective remains fixed until changed by the operator.
- Relative. This setting allows the drone to reposition itself around the tracked subject to match changes in the subject’s direction, adjusting position and rotation to keep the tether and the overwatch perspective.
In addition to the skill updates listed above, here are the other updates that come with the new firmware:
- Low battery auto return. This allows the drone to return home automatically when its battery is low. Note: a home point must be set to use this feature.
- Search by location or address. Allows you to find a location either with latitude and longitude or with a physical address. Note: only available for the enterprise controller.
- Cloud updates. You can now share media from a flight, delete media, and store your drone’s battery data all in the cloud.
- A new tutorial section. Tutorials on how to use your Skydio 2+ can now be found in the controller.
- Upward capture for 3D scans. You can now enable upward capture so the drone automatically adjusts the camera gimbal pitch to look up when it detects that the height of the drone is below the scanned surface when collecting data for 3D models.
Search by address or location from your controller