November 19 2020

Introducing X2D: Ready for Duty — the first Skydio Original Series

Chuck McGraw

From the leading American drone manufacturer selected as a trusted provider for the Department of Defense, comes an episodic web video series about next-gen ISR with autonomous drones. Produced with the participation of combat veterans, all of which are part of the Skydio family.

X2D: Ready for Duty, tells the story of a team of fictional warfighters as they face five different missions, and highlights what happens when ISR is conducted with the support of an intelligent drone capable of working as a trusted teammate.

So please, join us as we follow the team through their missions, starting with the response to an explosion in an urban setting, and ending with a night raid on the responsible bomb-maker. This blog provides a synopsis of the six episodes.

The Blast

In the first episode, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team uses Skydio X2D to assess the risk, survey the damage, secure the area, and search for survivors of a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). With Skydio’s AI-based obstacle avoidance reducing the cognitive load on the pilot, the team is able to fly confidently at low altitude and between obstacles to detect any oncoming threats.

When dedicated manned ISR support is unavailable, having a portable vertical take off and landing X2D that can be deployed in seconds and easy to fly is invaluable to obtain real time situational awareness. During the chaos of conflict, the team depends on AI-powered drones to reduce risk to force and ensure mission success.

3D Scan Evidence Gathering

After the area is secure, the team begins a next-generation Sensitive Site Exploitation technique. This is done using Skydio 3D Scan to create a 3D model of the scene from an autonomous collection mission. The Skydio X2D surveys the scene, generating data that can be turned into an accurate reconstruction. Building a model helps the team make sure they have captured photos of the blast site, which are indexed spatially to make them easier to navigate, and that the after action report can give the viewer a sense of scale. Accuracy and efficiency are paramount so that the unit can effectively provide targetable intel for follow on operations.

Convoy Overwatch

After the EOD team passes intel back to the JOC, a special operations team follows a tip to apprehend the bomb-maker who was responsible for the VBIED in the prior scene. As they maneuver across open terrain, they use Skydio X2D to provide overwatch of their convoy infil route. With Skydio Autonomy the pilot is able to conduct sensor scans for threats on both the thermal and visual feeds without worrying about crashing. The team’s ability to detect nefarious actors before being seen may be the difference between mission success and mission failure.

Daylight ISR

As our SOF team completes infil to the suspected area of the bomb-maker, they are forced to prepare for a raid without the benefit of manned ISR support. From an OP, they launch the X2D to conduct a target recon of two suspected sites. By using Skydio’s autonomous flight capabilities the operators are able to maintain element security and focus on their collection plan. Skydio Autonomy decreases the cognitive load on the operator and in turn reduces risk to force and risk to mission. The intelligence the team gathers will determine whether they have truly closed in on the target.

Night Raid

Under cover of darkness, the team prepares for a raid on the target they have surveilled throughout the day. As the unit moves in, their sniper team uses X2D’s GPS-based precision night flight and 320p infrared camera to keep eyes on the target and provide overwatch. The team advances confidently with overwatch from their snipers and Skydio X2D. Will this be enough to ensure mission success?

How to watch

Want to see how this story unfolds? Follow this link to watch the series for free. We hope you’ll enjoy it and pass it along — and to all those who serve or have served, thank you for your service. This is for you.