October 30, 2023

Revolutionizing Utility Operations with the Skydio X10: The Future of Drone Technology for Precision and Reliability

Christina Park headshot

Christina Park

The Future of Drone Technology with Skydio X10

The utility industry, where precision and reliability are paramount, demands access to timely and accurate information. While many utilities have integrated drone technology into their operations for data capture, the task of selecting the most suitable solution remains a challenge.

Until now, utility companies have been forced to make trade-offs between hardware specifications, software capabilities, size, cost, and security when considering drone solutions. This resulted in a compromise between their specific needs and available options

However, the landscape shifted dramatically on September 20th with the introduction of the Skydio X10, a groundbreaking enterprise drone. Renowned for exceptional artificial intelligence and autonomous capabilities, Skydio now presents a comprehensive drone solution specifically designed to meet the unique demands of the utility industry. With the Skydio X10, utility companies can have confidence in their ability to acquire the right information at the right time, without compromise.

Onboard AI. Off the charts capability.

In the world of utility operations, the deployment of drone technology is a way to replicate manual inspection rounds. Whether you're a seasoned lineperson, a meticulous operator, or a diligent engineer, the undeniable truth remains: traditional drones are notoriously difficult to fly, particularly for someone new to them. In an industry with inertia against change, even the most cutting-edge tech can collect dust on the shelf if it's not user-friendly.

Skydio, as a pioneer in autonomous drone solutions, has once again upped the game in AI with the launch of the Skydio X10. Building on the success of its predecessors, the X10 takes the concept of obstacle avoidance to new heights. The result is a drone that's easy to master and readily accessible to even the most hesitant users, which eliminates the need to hire experienced pilots. With Skydio X10, your front-line personnel become proficient operators of this intelligent tool.

At the heart of the X10's capabilities is its unparalleled onboard processing, powered by the NVIDIA Jetson Orin. This remarkable technology provides a staggering 10x boost in processing power compared to previous models, enabling advanced perception and navigation in energized substations and other complex environments. Equipped with six 32MP navigation cameras, the X10 offers a 360-degree visual field, allowing it to spatially reason in all directions simultaneously. This, in turn, empowers your staff to focus on the task at hand – the inspection itself – rather than the dangers and intricacies of flight.

As with previous models, the Skydio X10 is impervious to electromagnetic interference, allowing for confidence and close-up monitoring in energized environments where other drones are subject to standoff distances.

The X10's capabilities extend beyond daylight hours, with its night navigation feature enabling autonomous flight without constraints. In an era where security concerns, such as substation attacks and copper theft, persist, the X10 allows for uninterrupted, around-the-clock substation security monitoring.

But that's not all; the Skydio X10's intelligence continues to evolve through a developing semantic understanding of assets. As the drone understands what components it sees, such as insulators on a transmission tower, we can expect a significant increase in inspection efficiency. With onboard AI lightening the burden on users, you can broaden your scope without increasing your workforce. In the fast-paced world of utilities, Skydio's X10 redefines the landscape, making utility drone operations more accessible, intelligent, and efficient than ever before.

Visionary cameras that get the job done

Skydio X10 Thermal Camera

The aging infrastructure that underpins many utility systems represents one of the most pressing challenges for service providers. Equipment failures, resulting in costly outages and unexpected downtime, not only lead to financial strains but also leave stakeholders and customers dissatisfied. In response to these challenges, visual and thermal imaging cameras can provide the insights needed to do the right maintenance at the right time.

Integrated into proactive maintenance programs, these sensors serve as guardians of utility infrastructure. Their unique ability to identify potential issues before they escalate into crises holds the power to rein in costs and lower the frequency and duration of service interruptions.

Skydio X10 Utility Inspection

Tailor-made to capture the crucial data utilities need, the Skydio X10 is a game-changing addition to the utility industry's toolkit. Whether it's tracking structural damage, identifying temperature variations and hotspots on vital assets, or detecting intruders and security threats in low-light conditions, the X10 delivers with unparalleled precision.

What sets the Skydio X10 apart is its unrivaled image quality, even when zoomed in. Thanks to a cutting-edge compact transition zoom system, this drone starts with a high-megapixel sensor, delivering expansive, highly detailed images. It then seamlessly transitions to a lossless digital zoom, complemented by a telephoto lens, enabling the capture of minute details from extended standoff distances, reaching a staggering 800 feet.

However, the real game-changer is the X10's thermal imaging capability, particularly when it comes to electrical assets. The detection of temperature gradients serves as an early warning system for potential failures, making thermal imaging a vital tool. In the event of a critical substation failure, such as an overheated transformer, the repercussions for the power utility can be catastrophic. A single failure can trigger a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers, resulting in exorbitant repair or replacement costs.

Equipped with the FLIR Boson+ thermal sensor, boasting resolutions of 640x512, and exceptional sensitivity down to <=30mK, the X10 provides precise radiometric readings. This opens up a world of possibilities for thermal inspections and monitoring.

The introduction of visionary sensors is ushering in a new era in utility infrastructure maintenance. These innovative tools are not only preserving assets and preventing costly disruptions but are also enhancing safety and efficiency across the utility landscape. With the ability to proactively identify and address potential issues, Skydio X10 is rewriting the rules for utility maintenance, ensuring a more reliable and resilient future for all.

Ready for anything, anytime, anywhere

In the realm of utility operations, the Skydio X10 emerges as the indispensable tool, whether the task at hand involves a remote substation inspection or an emergency response surveillance mission. Since the invention of the lightbulb, utilities have responded to natural disasters. Throughout the years utilities have become experts in disaster recovery, understanding the state of the system immediately after a high volume event allows for rapid and accurate deployment of personnel, materials, and equipment to get customers back on as fast as possible. The changing climate patterns, however, have seen a recent increase in natural disasters, where the impact of storms, floods, and wildfires is acutely felt within our communities. In the face of these unpredictable and often devastating weather events, swift response time is paramount, and situational awareness is the key that unlocks efficient and effective utility operations.

Skydio X10 Utilities Inspection drone

The Skydio X10 is designed with this challenge in mind, offering a field-ready solution that equips utility teams to face the harshest weather conditions with confidence. This means that even in the most adverse weather conditions, the X10 stands rugged, ensuring that your response is not only efficient but also optimized for the magnitude of the task at hand.

One of the standout features of the X10 is its array of attachment options, which greatly enhance mission capabilities. Among these options is the ability to use a spotlight for remote event-based line or substation patrol. When power is out at night the combination of night autonomy, the spotlight payload, and the thermal camera gives unparalleled situational awareness to the person performing the inspection, both for the safety of flight and the capture of high-quality actionable data to make real-time decisions on how to return the system to normal.

Skydio X10 parachute

In an era where swift and precise response to natural disasters is a necessity, the Skydio X10 empowers utility companies to meet the challenge head-on. Its durability in adverse weather conditions, versatility through attachment options, and innovative workflow management have made it a reliable partner in ensuring the efficient and effective delivery of utility services, even in the face of nature's most formidable challenges.

A partner you can trust

In utility operations, where the reliability and security of infrastructure data are paramount, you need a partner you can trust. Skydio stands as that trusted partner, unwavering in our commitment to safeguarding the integrity of your data.

When it comes to the Skydio X10, security, and data encryption are not just priorities; they are fundamental pillars of our design. We understand the sensitivity and importance of infrastructure data in your operations. Much like our other cutting-edge products, the Skydio X10 adheres to the highest industry standards with ISO 27001 certification and SOC-2 Type II compliance. This rigorous standard is your guarantee that your data is protected. When you choose the Skydio X10, you choose peace of mind, knowing that your data remains exclusively yours.

In the ever-evolving world of utility operations, the Skydio X10 stands as the ultimate solution, tailored to meet the specific needs of the utility industry. It strikes the ideal balance between cutting-edge hardware capabilities for comprehensive inspections and state-of-the-art AI and autonomy that set new industry standards.

When you're ready to embark on this transformative journey, reach out to your dedicated Skydio representative to discover how easy it is to get started. The best AI in the sky is now within your reach, and it's time to take your utility operations to new heights. Unlock the future of utility monitoring with Skydio X10 – the intersection of precision and reliability.

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