Skydio Makes Its Autonomy Code Public, Releases Live Streaming with Axon for Public Safety Agencies
BY Zacc Dukowitz1 June 2022
Skydio recently released the framework it uses to write algorithmic code for its autonomy engine to the public.
At the same time, it announced that public safety agencies can now live stream from its drones to Axon Respond, a real-time operations platform for public safety agencies created by Axon.
Called SymForce, Skydio’s framework is crucial to the motion planner that powers the Skydio 2+, allowing it to model complex aerodynamics so that it can fly with greater and greater autonomy.
In a recent blog post, Skydio’s Hayk Martiros explains that the algorithms that power commercial robotic solutions are complex, and can therefore be slow to update. To push their technology so it would be smarter and faster, Skydio wanted to find a way to move more quickly with iterating out new versions of its algorithm.
This demand is what led to the creation of SymForce, a framework for writing algorithmic code that uses symbolic computation and code generation.
Here’s a visualization of a SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) problem solved with SymForce:
SLAM is integral to how Skydio’s drones locate themselves in space in real time. More and more, advances in the drone industry are being driven not just by hardware, but by the software behind that hardware.
For example, Flyability’s new Elios 3 uses a proprietary SLAM engine to create 3D models in real time, while the drone is in flight. These 3D models allow inspectors to locate themselves within complex assets, ensuring that they get full coverage of the asset while collecting inspection data.
According to Skydio, it’s made SymForce public in order to “help accelerate innovation across robotics.”
Here are some important links in case you’d like to learn more:
- SymForce is hosted here.
- A paper about SymForce can be found here. The paper has been accepted to the Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) 2022 conference.
Skydio Releases Live Streaming for Axon Respond
Skydio recently announced that public safety agencies can now live stream from the Skydio 2+ to Axon Respond, a real-time operations platform created by Axon.
Axon is most popularly known as the makers of the taser, but it has a suite of resources used regularly by public safety agencies.
Axon’s suite of products for public safety agencies includes:
- Axon Air. Drone-focused section of Axon.
- Axon Evidence. Software for managing evidence data.
- Axon Respond. Software for managing and sharing emergency operations data in real-time, including data to support real-time communications, dispatching, and situational awareness.
Axon Respond is a real-time operations platform for public safety workers, providing them with just-in-time data and support when dealing with emergencies. The new live stream feature gives first responders the ability to access drone live-streams while working in the field, providing them with a big advantage when dealing with complex, potentially dangerous situations.
Axon Respond integrates location data and video feeds from your Skydio drones to give you a complete picture of evolving situations on any web or mobile browser.
– Axon’s website
When Skydio announced its partnership with Axon in March of last year, it laid out a roadmap for how the company’s drone technology and data capture would be integrated with Axon’s solutions.
The roadmap included three main areas of focus:
- Step 1. Focus on evidence—data management after an incident takes place.
- Step 2. Focus on live responses—sharing data while an incident takes place.
- Step 3. Focus on scene reconstruction.
The live streaming integration with Axon Respond is a milestone on this roadmap, presenting an important step in the second area of focus—supporting live responses by providing a means to share aerial data while an incident is taking place.
The live streaming release is a good sign that Skydio is well on track to continue integrating with Axon’s robust infrastructure, including the platforms listed above, which will provide greater support for those working in law enforcement and other types of public safety agencies.
Already use Skydio with Axon Respond? Here are step-by-step instructions from Skydio to help you setup the live streaming integration.
Watch this video to learn more about the Skydio integration with Axon Respond: