It’s wasn’t too many years ago that inspecting a bridge, evaluating safe passage, or planning a route took a brave soul to volunteer or a less brave soul to draw the short straw. Now, we just send a robot or, better yet, a drone to scope the area and if 2020 will be remembered for anything… *ahem*, on such a list will be advancements in drone technology.
Skydio has been one leading the charge in advanced drone capabilities. Today, they announced the Skydio X2 drones, along with new apps and a new $100M Series C funding round. It is the culmination of 10+ years of autonomous drone R&D to address concerns and issues with traditional manual drones.
The Skydio X2 drone has ‘360° situational awareness’ with a 360° Superzoom color camera, a FLIR thermal camera (360×256), 180° vertical view capability and a 3.9 mile (6.2km) range on 35 minutes of battery life.
Along with this, the drone uses Skydio Autonomy, their AI technology that uses six 4K camera to build a real-time 3-dimensional area map passed through deep learning algorithms to extrapolate objects, location, action, and avoidance. With this, it provides a drone that is easier to control for beginners and more capability for experienced operators.
Skydio 3D Scan sis a ‘first of its kind’ digital scanning software that is designed to inspect bridges, buildings, infrastructure, and other complex industrial structures, reconstructing the scene in real-time. Skydio explains:
Unlike inspection conducted with manual drones, Skydio 3D Scan enables a fully automated, structure-agnostic process that does not require any prior knowledge of the inspected structure and can operate in GPS-denied environments or without internet connection. Operators can specify the area or volume to inspect, pick a desired imaging resolution, and the AI-powered Skydio 3D Scan does the rest, autonomously imaging all surfaces with precision by dynamically building a real-time map as the drone flies. The resulting imagery has no gaps in captured data, and is optimized to ensure effective photogrammetry.“
Though it has some mainstream appeal, Skydio is aimed at enterprise, defense, first-response, and government customers who can take advantage of the capabilities for safety, inspection, and reconnaissance.
Currently, the Skydio X2D (defense) and the Skydio X2E (enterprise) drones are planned to be available in Q4 2020.