Skydio Sets Its Sights Squarely on the Enterprise Market—Launch of the X2, Enterprise Software, and a $100 Million Series C
BY Zacc Dukowitz23 July 2020
Last month we wrote about the rise in commercial adoption of the Skydio 2 (S2), despite the popular conception that it is primarily a selfie drone.
This month Skydio has taken its focus on the commercial drone market several steps further.
In a recent blog post, Skydio CEO Adam Bry announced the launch of the X2 family of drones for enterprise and government customers, the launch of new enterprise software to support the X2 and the Skydio 2, and a $100 million Series C funding round.
With Skydio 2 (S2) we’ve proven that our autonomy software can fundamentally change the way people use drones, and that an American company can not only compete, but can lead the way in AI-powered drone technology. We are now bringing the power of autonomy to enterprises, government agencies, first responders, and defense customers.
– Adam Bry, CEO of Skydio
Along with these announcements Skydio shared an expanded mission, which should help the company shed the perception that its drones are primarily made for action-packed selfies.
The new mission reads: Make the world more productive, creative, and safe with autonomous flight.
The Skydio X2 Family of Drones
Autonomy may be the key to driving enterprise drone adoption.
Photo credit: Skydio
According to Skydio, 55% of respondents in a recent poll of enterprise drone users reported that their top concern about commercial drones was the risk of “conventional manual drones” crashing.
Through the creation of the Skydio 1 and 2, Skydio has demonstrated its ability to create fully autonomous drones—that is, drones that don’t require an expert pilot, and that are capable of avoiding obstacles and navigating tricky terrain on their own.
These autonomous drones have already been adopted by public safety agencies, inspection personnel, and others working in commercial scenarios.
With the X2 family of drones, Skydio will be making drones specifically for commercial applications.
The company’s vision is to leverage its autonomy technology so that “drones do useful work in the background and are available whenever and wherever they’re needed.”
Here’s what we know so far about the Skydio X2 family of drones.
Skydio X2 refers to a family of drone platforms for commercial applications, which pair the company’s autonomy software with:
- A ruggedized airframe. Tough frame with folding arms for easy transportation.
- Dual sensor payload. Payload includes a FLIR Boson thermal camera capable of 320 x 256 (4 times the resolution you get with DJI’s Mavic 2 Enterprise) and a 100x zoom camera with 12MP color
- IR illuminators. These are built into the drone’s arms, allowing for crisp image capture in low-light conditions
- Flight time. Up to 35 minutes.
- Max range. 6.2 miles
- 360-degree obstacle avoidance. Enabled by the drone’s six 4K navigation cameras—these six cameras can be merged with the seventh 100x zoom camera for a full view around the drone that can be zoomed in on, as needed.
Photo credit: Skydio
So far, the X2 family only contains two different configurations—the X2E and the X2D.
Of the two configurations, the X2E has a broader range of applications in which it can be used, including:
- Public safety agency/first responders
- Inspections of buildings, bridges, power plants, and railyards, among other commercial assets
- Other enterprise or commercial scenarios that call for flying at a close distance to capture accurate data
The X2D configuration was originally designed to meet the U.S. Army’s Short-Range Reconnaissance (SRR) requirements.
Its target applications include:
- Military and defense (for reconnaissance)
- Search & rescue
- Security patrol missions
Enterprise Software for the X2 and the Skydio 2
To support its line of X2 commercial drones, Skydio is rolling out three new enterprise-focused software offerings.
Photo credit: Skydio
Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation
The new Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation enhances Skydio’s existing Core Autonomy system with additional safety and efficiency features, including:
- 360 Superzoom. Provides maximum situational awareness at 360 degrees, blending the drone’s seven on-board cameras to let the pilot see in all directions while flying. Also provides up to 100x digital zoom with high quality video resolution and electronic image stabilization.
- Precision Mode. Provides maximum control while performing detailed inspections in challenging, GPS-denied environments. Skydio’s autonomy engine can be tuned to enable high precision response to controller inputs and to safely fly in close proximity to obstacles (.5 meters).
- Vertical View. Provides the ability to capture images by looking straight up overhead, allowing users to focus on overhead inspection targets instead of dedicating their inspection camera to avoiding obstacles.
Skydio 3D Scan
Skydio 3D Scan is a general-purpose software for digitally scanning complex assets like bridges or energy infrastructure for inspection purposes. It can also be used for accident and crime scenes.
Here are the standout features of Skydio 3D Scan:
- Enables a fully automated, structure-agnostic process
- Works in GPS-denied environments without an internet connection
- Provides autonomous imaging of a selected area or volume and builds a map in real time while the drone is in flight
- Works on any type of structure, even those with unusual obliques or concavities, due to the combination of Skydio’s close proximity obstacle avoidance and full range gimbal motion
Skydio 3D scan will be available not just for the X2 but for the S2 as well, allowing commercial users who are already using the S2 for inspections to improve their workflow without having to switch platforms.
Skydio House Scan
Skydio House Scan is made for home inspections. It allows home insurance agents to automatically perform accurate inspection of residential homes without the need to become expert drone pilots.
The X2 drones and all three enterprise software offerings will be available starting in Q4 of this year. Learn more about Skydio’s new enterprise solutions on the Skydio website.
Do you think Skydio will capture a big chunk of the enterprise drone market? Share your thoughts in this thread on the UAV Coach community forum.