October 01 2019

Skydio 2 and the Drone Industry


We started Skydio with a simple goal: make drones useful by making them smart.

Last year we introduced Skydio R1 which was our first step on this journey. It was widely recognized as a breakthrough in autonomous flight. It allowed us to put our software to the test in the most challenging real world scenarios and gather feedback from our early customers to whom we will be forever grateful. R1 was like the Roadster of autonomous drones. It had a high price point and made tradeoffs necessary for our first generation product. R1 had a very narrow feature set (in fact all it could really do when we first shipped it was follow and film people) but it proved what was possible and it laid the groundwork for Skydio 2.

Our autonomy system is a foundation upon which many other capabilities can be built. The same technologies that enable Skydio 2 to follow and film subjects while avoiding obstacles, enable it to navigate in GPS denied environments, get close to structures to inspect them, and enter dangerous situations ahead of people.

We’re excited to see what customers do with Skydio 2 and we’re also excited to see what it can do for the drone industry. We have immense respect for DJI and the products they create, but the industry as a whole is not healthy. The current generation of manually flown drones haven’t delivered on the ideas that have gotten so many of us excited about drones over the last few years. They claim to have autonomy capabilities but it’s still a “gee whiz” side feature, not a trustworthy part of the core experience.

We want drones that are accessible, useful, and dependable. We want drones that can autonomously collect the data that keep our infrastructure humming and keep us safe, without needing the constant attention of a pilot. And we want to challenge the myth that an American company can’t build a superior drone.

We envision a world where drones are more like our phones — where new applications and capabilities continuously emerge in software, making them more useful to us. Autonomy is the foundation that makes this possible. You’ll see us build some of these new applications ourselves, and you’ll also see some built by our partners on our SDK. Today we’re announcing our partnership with DroneDeploy, the leader in enterprise drone mapping software. With Skydio 2 plus DroneDeploy, you can fly with confidence in challenging environments, getting closer to what you want to capture for unparalleled detail in your maps. Over the next few months you’ll see Skydio 2 in the hands of first responders saving lives, you’ll see it get new skills that let it inspect structures of all shapes and sizes, and you’ll see it integrated into fully autonomous work flows.

This industry is still young and there’s still so much potential. We hope that you’ll join us in creating the next chapter in drones with Skydio 2.