One of the leading drone manufacturers, Skydio, has this week announced that they’re bringing their products to Australia and New Zealand.
ANZ customers can now access the autonomous drone Skydio 2, along with Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation, 3D Scan and Cloud – for enterprise and public sector customers. Skydio also announced Skydio X2, which is designed for business applications, is now for pre-orders and will start shipping in Q3 2021.
Both Skydio 2 and Skydio X2 have obtained Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) certification. These announcements mark the next step in Skydio’s international expansion strategy in Asia Pacific, following the opening of Skydio’s Japan office in Q4 of 2020.
Drones have proven to be critical tools for enterprise, military agencies, and first responders around the world. Nevertheless, the workload-intensive nature of traditional manual drones has so far hindered the scope of Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs.
The complexity of manually flown missions coupled with the high risk of crashes limits the applicability of manual drones to a small subset of use cases and drives up the cost of pilot training.
Skydio uses AI, specifically computer vision to detect objects in its path and route safely around them. The Skydio 2 for example, leverages 6x 4K navigation cameras, combining into a massive 45 megapixels of visual data. This enables Skydio 2 to build a full 360 picture of the environment around the drone in unprecedented resolution and clarity. This is the foundation of trustworthy autonomous flight.
Skydio 2 offers 4K video recording at up to 60fps, using a 100Mbps bitrate. The camera has the smarts to track objects, enabling some very impressive shots for those capturing action sports. The drone offers around 23 minutes of flight time and when paired with the Skydio controller, can fly up to 3.5km away. In terms of performance, the autonomous flight speed is up to 57km/hr.
- Starter drone. Skydio 2 is the easiest drone to fly, and the perfect one to start for new pilots. Warning – our pilots say they never want to fly anything else.
- Action sports. Let the drone follow you using the Skydio Beacon, so you can focus on the doing while the drone does the flying. It’s your own flying film crew.
- Cinematography. Skydio 2 is tuned to deliver stunning cinematic footage, plotting smooth paths around obstacles to generate impressive 4K60 HDR video.
- Professional. Skydio 2 is ready to support your business needs, with a full range of accessories, carry cases, and enterprise-grade warranty and support.
Internationally, Skydio 2 was first released 2 years ago, kickstarting an innovation roadmap to take drones into the age of AI-driven autonomy. This agenda accelerated in 2021 with the release of the Skydio X2, Skydio 3D Scan, and Skydio Cloud.
Skydio’s operations in Australia and New Zealand will be under the leadership of Richard Hall, Country Manager for ANZ, and James Finch, Head of Solution Engineering, who have both recently joined the region’s executive team.
Autonomous drones have finally arrived and I couldn’t be more excited about joining the clear leader in this space, Skydio. I look forward to working with Enterprise and Public Sector customers in Australia and New Zealand to introduce Skydio’s AI-powered autonomous drones to their fleets. So far, the market has been dominated by manual products that are labour intensive and difficult to operate. There is a clear demand for smarter drones that are easier to use, deliver real automation and come from trustworthy providers. Skydio’s autonomous drones and advanced integrated software respond to this need unlocking the massive untapped potential of drones.”Richard Hall, Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand at Skydio
Price and Availability
The Skydio 2 drone is available now, directly from Skydio’s website and while the product is available in Australia now, the prices on their website still appears to be in $USD. Skydio 2 starts at $1,349 for the Starter Kit, while the Sports kit costs $1,799, the Cinema Kit costs $2,199 and the Pro kit costs $2,999.
I’m not sure how many people would try to buy more than 1, but you should know there’s a current limit of 1 per customer.
You can optionally get the Skydio 2 controller, for $179 and the Skydio 2 Beacon for $219. The second of these enables the drone to track you via GPS, enabling the drone to follow from as much as 100 meters away, even if it can’t see you.
Advanced integrated software (Autonomy Enterprise Foundation, 3D Scan, Cloud)
Skydio 2 is the industry’s leading autonomous drone solution, combining the breakthrough AI-powered autonomous flight engine (Skydio Autonomy) with a compact, lightweight airframe equipped with six 4K 200° navigation cameras to allow the drone to see in every direction and implement true 360° obstacle avoidance. With a best-in-class 4K60P HDR main camera and up to 23 minutes of flight time on a single battery charge, Skydio 2 is the most intelligent, safest and simplest drone to operate in the market.
ANZ customers can use Skydio 2 in combination with Skydio’s advanced enterprise software and cloud services:
- Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation. Unlocks advanced capabilities for maximum situational awareness, ultra-precise control when navigating dense environments and close-proximity inspection of assets and scenes. Key features include: 360 Superzoom provides a unique 360° live view of the surroundings of the drone; Precision Mode tunes the system for ultra-precise positioning based on joystick inputs; Close Proximity Obstacle Avoidance enables flight as close as 4” away from obstacles with the confidence of full avoidance; Vertical View enables superior image capture for complex inspections by pointing the gimbal straight up overhead.
- Skydio 3D Scan. A revolutionary technology that ushers a new age of autonomous inspection. 3D Scan is a first-of-its-kind adaptive scanning software built on top of Skydio Autonomy that allows professional drone operators to fully automate the image capture process needed to generate detailed datasets and complex 3D models with comprehensive coverage and sub-millimeter resolution. Thanks to the AI-driven workflow and robotic precision, 3D Scan enables fundamentally faster and higher quality inspections of complex industrial structures and locations, such as bridges, building facades, energy infrastructure, accident and crime scenes, all with minimal pilot training.
- Skydio Cloud. Enables a new paradigm of autonomous connected flight operations by seamlessly and securely integrating Skydio drones with a suite of advanced cloud services. Skydio Cloud runs on AWS – U.S. Region cloud infrastructure and includes the following services: Skydio Fleet Manager for federated management for distributed drone operations; Skydio Media Sync for seamless upload and management of flight media; Skydio Streaming (coming soon) for real-time video aerial intelligence from any browser or mobile device; Skydio Remote Ops (coming soon) for groundbreaking teleoperation with the obstacle avoidance of Skydio Autonomy. Skydio Cloud enables drone-captured data to flow through the organization thanks to a set of robust APIs that allow direct integration with enterprise business systems for end-to-end management of flight operations, data analysis and security compliance.
“Sensorem is constantly looking for innovative solutions that improve the way we assess and collect asset data. The business introduced Skydio’s autonomous drones into its inspection workflow in 2020. This technology has enabled us to reduce the risks associated with manual drone flight, particularly when inspecting critical infrastructure. Using Sensorem’s Skydio 2 drones and the newly released Skydio 3D Scan software, the company is taking the next step in the autonomous journey. This software will greatly improve efficiency and productivity, together with consistency in data collection.”Ed Boxall, Managing Director
“We are excited to partner with Skydio to bring US-Manufactured, AI-Powered Autonomous Drones to Public Safety across Australia and New Zealand. Skydio is leading the way in the next-generation of autonomous drones that will allow first responders to more efficiently gain valuable aerial intelligence when responding to emergencies. With the upcoming integration with Axon’s solutions, Skydio drone-captured imagery will be easily manageable and shareable for agencies, and live alongside corresponding body camera video in Axon’s digital evidence management platform, Axon Evidence.”Senior Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Axon, Nathan Sawtell.
Skydio X2 available for pre-order now, shipping in Q3
Winner of CES 2021 Best of Innovation award, Skydio X2 combines Skydio’s groundbreaking AI-powered autonomous flight engine and 360° obstacle avoidance capabilities with a ruggedized, portable airframe, designed to meet the most demanding requirements of enterprise and public sector customers. Skydio X2 provides longer flight time with up to 35 minutes on a single battery, extended wireless range (up to 6 km on commercial 5 GHz band, and up to 10 km on the restricted 1.8 GHz government band), GPS-based night flight with support from strobing lights in visible and IR wavelengths, and pairs with the professional-grade Skydio Enterprise Controller for robust and intuitive ground control operations.
Skydio X2 will be available in two versions: X2D for defense and federal agencies, and X2E for enterprises, first responders, and civilian agencies. X2 is also available in two sensor payload configurations: color-only 4K60P HDR or dual-sensor to add FLIR® 320p thermal imaging.
Skydio X2 provides the highest level of supply chain security and has been selected as a trusted solution for the U.S. Department of Defense and is a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliant solution.
Skydio’s advanced enterprise software and services, including Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation, Skydio 3D Scan and Skydio Cloud, will also be available on X2.
Skydio’s compliance with local regulations
As in other country markets, Skydio is committed to work with ANZ regulators and customers to unlock its products for high-value, low-friction operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
In other markets, like the United States, Skydio has achieved some of the industry’s most advanced approvals for conducting BVLOS operations, such as for bridge inspection and tactical emergency response, and for fully remote operations with docked-based drones over railroad tracks and railyards.
In ANZ, Skydio plan on working closely with customers and regulators (CASA) to realise regulatory breakthroughs that harness the value of autonomy and deliver unprecedented levels of safety.