After a $100 million investment, Skydio, a newer company based in California, that makes autonomous drones that fly themselves with minimal human interaction, is offering its latest drone, the Skydio X2E.
Skydio is a company that is primarily made up of MIT drone experts and alumni of Google’s Wing drone delivery unit. The company has continuously been improving the software, and added new features with its release of Skydio 2. The $100 million in funding was initiated by German multinational company, Siemens’, Next47 firm.
The X2E is Skydio’s first non-consumer drone that is marketed for commercial and government agencies, the military, and other organizations that require aerial surveillance or surveying. The X2E is especially equipped for surveillance for enterprises, first responders, and civilian agencies, because it is equipped with its own built-in infrared thermal camera. Inspection of infrastructure, such as building, bridges, power plants, power stations, railyards, etc., are ideal for the X2E’s capabilities.
The Skydio R1 is an autonomous drone that first entered the market a little more than two years ago. The R1 had impressive artificial intelligence-powered obstacle avoidance, and other sensors and software features, that made it possible to seamlessly fly autonomously through complex outdoor environments.
The X2D is a reconnaissance/search drone that is marketed for defense agencies and is included in the Skydio’s X2 drone product line. Both drones contain autonomous software with a rugged airframe, that is geared for transportation, as well as a thermal camera with as much as 35 minutes of flight time. The X2 models are equipped with six 4K navigation cameras for 360-degree obstacle avoidance, and a dual sensor payload, that includes 12MP color and 320×256 LWIR sensors.*
As a Skydio spokesperson noted:
“Artificial intelligence takes care of the flying, so your teams can focus on the safety of the communities they serve . . . From situational awareness and search and rescue, to evidence collection and collision reconstruction, X2E enables first responders to safely ramp their drone fleets with minimal training, removing all barriers to enter the drone revolution.”*
Several American agencies have lauded the X2E after deploying it in the field. Basil Yap, Director, UAS Program Manager, N.C. Department of Transportation, said:
“We have been able to inspect bridges in completely new ways, using the Skydio 2, and are excited to apply the Skydio X2E to our program needs . . . to take advantage of the extended range, battery life and other advanced features that will help us achieve even higher levels of efficiency.”*
- Enterprise-grade Security: AES-256 media encryption, burned-in keys at time of manufacture.
- Skydio Enterprise Controller: Built-in touchscreen, glove-compatible controls, and a new wireless system to extend range of up to 6 km.
- Skydio Autonomy Core: 360° obstacle avoidance, real-time 3D mapping, object and scene recognition, and motion planning.
- GPS-powered night flight, visible light and IR illuminators for flying in the dark.
- Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation: 360 Superzoom, Precision Mode and 180 Vertical View.
- Skydio 3D Scan: “First-of-its-kind” digital scan software for inspections of complex structures, such as bridges, energy infrastructure, or crash and crime scenes.*
As a company that is primarily made up of MIT drone experts and alumni of Google’s Wing drone delivery unit, we can expect it to continue to bring new and exciting technological advances, in the future, that will directly, or indirectly, benefit us all.