August 31, 2022

Skydio, the Smarter Sidekick Gets Smarter

Alex Netto

Alex Netto

scout military skydio drone

From military deployments to police departments, drones give a real-time overhead view to help teams react to events as they unfold, whether scouting dangerous areas, performing search and rescue, or operating in military situations. We are excited to share a series of updates in today’s 2022 Summer Software Release, which enhance existing pilots’ situational awareness missions in three key ways:

Less Cognitive Load

The manual drones that dominate fleets today are holding their operators back. They require operators to be so cautious in flight that it makes it more difficult to complete their missions, and carry high-cost sensors on low-reliability airframes. Autonomous Skydio drones with vision-based navigation and obstacle avoidance alleviate the pilot burden, enable confident flight, and protect operators’ investments. In today’s release, we are excited to announce Skydio Scout —  an autonomous flight skill that gives operators awareness without needing to actually fly the drone.

90 Seconds to Intel

When a call comes in to a tactical team, intel is often ambiguous and needs refinement. Instant situational awareness on arrival can help responders observe and orient themselves more effectively to promote mission success. Skydio X2 can be deployed in under 90 seconds. The quick deploying nature of Skydio X2 saves time, and accelerates decision making. Today’s new Quick Launch feature allows the pilot to launch without holding a controller and removes steps in the launch process to get the drone in the air faster.

Hands-off Team Awareness

Situational awareness that is rapidly shared team-wide is critical to mission success in tactical environments. Today, we are excited to announce Skydio Scout, Team Awareness Kit (TAK) Integration, Streaming, and Live Flights — all with a simple software update for our Autonomy Enterprise and Cloud customers. These features further the capabilities of Skydio drones for improved communication and context, especially for emergency situations in real-time leading to quicker resolutions, allowing teams to identify issues or gauge the severity of an emergency to provide more rapid response.

Skydio Scout: A Flying Camera that Automatically Moves with You

Skydio Scout is a dedicated skill which makes it easier to fly around and keep up with a tracked GPS position. Fly at a set distance and height from either the Skydio Enterprise Controller or the Skydio Beacon while on the move — all without having to manually operate the drone. Skydio’s unmatched obstacle avoidance makes for worry free flying while maintaining a set distance from the GPS location and camera direction, even without line of sight.

Skydio Scout makes your operations easier in a few key ways:

  • The Skydio Scout skill does not require the drone to "look" at its tracked GPS position. That means you can place the drone anywhere in 3D space and position the camera to focus on what you care about, all while following the tracked GPS position.
  • Skydio Scout lets you seamlessly reposition the drone while a tracked subject or GPS position is in motion. No need to position the camera while manually trying to keep up with a moving subject in congested environments.
  • Scout makes it easy to reposition the drone and keep eyes around a moving subject.

Skydio Scout in Action

Scout can be an extremely versatile situational awareness tool. With the ability to get an aerial perspective while on the move the use cases for Scout are endless. Here are a few examples:

  • Military Vehicle Convoy - You are a soldier in a vehicle convoy in a remote area with little information about what is in the surrounding region. Driving through potentially dangerous areas and getting ambushed is always a possibility. Quickly deploy a Skydio drone and select the Scout skill. Position the drone ahead of your convoy and view what is over the next hill providing overwatch without the need to constantly fly the drone to keep the drone positioned ahead. Easily identify possible enemy threats, IEDs, or other barriers on a road which ultimately saves lives.
skydio scout drone feature
  • Search and Rescue - When conducting SAR missions, time is always of the essence and maximizing your search coverage is critical for using that time effectively. With Skydio Scout, your ground search team is complemented with an overhead aerial view tracking their movement while an army drone pilot is monitoring what’s in front of the search team. This ensures more complete search coverage of the given area, and reduces the cognitive load of the drone operator so they can more closely focus on searching the scene and not flying the drone.
  • K9 Deployment - When deploying K9s for suspect apprehension, Skydio Scout can play a pivotal role in providing situational awareness when the dog must leave the line of sight of the handler. With the Beacon attached to the K9’s vest, the Skydio drone will track the GPS location of the K9 and stay with it as it runs around corners, under trees or overhangs, etc. This allows responders to monitor the K9’s GPS location and direct their team accordingly, while having the drone keep up with the dog autonomously with the ability to take manual control at any point. With a drone locked onto their K9 partner, Scout keeps officers out of harm's way.
scout k9 deployment

TAK Integration: Coordinated Situational Awareness

TAK (Team Awareness Kit) is an application that allows multiple inputs from GPS enabled devices to be displayed in one central location. Having centralized location information from many different devices gives team members a real-time view of the area that allows for better coordination amongst teams. Now with the Skydio Enterprise Controller, users can connect to the online or offline TAK network, giving teammates on the ground access to the drones live video feed and location. This allows for precision targeting, surrounding land formation intelligence, situational awareness, navigation, and data sharing.

skydio atak integration

This new situational awareness capability allows users to see where team members are (which reduces friendly fire incidents and helps with coordinating movements). TAK enables collaboration across multiple devices such as GPS beacons that were previously unable to communicate when on joint missions because they use different equipment, radio frequencies or encryption.

Skydio Streaming: See the Action

Live Streaming provides improved communication and context, especially for chaotic or emergency situations in real-time to off-site first-response teams, executives, and command centers. Live Streaming helps with faster response times and quicker resolutions, allowing teams to identify issues or gauge the severity of an emergency to provide the appropriate response.

skydio streaming

Skydio Streaming brings this crucial capability to Skydio drones — enabling users to share and view a live video stream of what the drone is capturing during flight. Streaming provides a secure real-time video feed from a drone’s camera view to team members, decision-makers, or emergency response teams. The livestream is viewable from mobile or desktop devices. Easily livestream from Skydio 2, 2+ or X2E to Skydio Cloud to access the drone's camera video feed.

Live Flights: See Where the Fleet Is

live flights drone skydio

Get critical information about where all the drones in your fleet are located in real time. With Skydio Live Flights, your command center can securely access live telemetry and location data from drones, enabling them to make better decisions about how to complete the mission.

A Drone Company You Can Trust

Skydio hardware and software are designed, assembled, and supported in the U.S. We develop our software in-house and source our processors from U.S. companies. This enables us to provide a high level of supply chain security and data security. The Skydio X2 and Skydio Enterprise Controller are 848 FY20 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) Compliant and ASDA (American Security Drone Act) compliant. Skydio drones are trusted and approved by the US DoD, and Skydio is the situational awareness tool of choice of the US Army, US Marine Corps, UK MOD, and more.

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