Earlier this year Skydio stunned the drone industry with the introduction of the R1. The first consumer drone that flies fully autonomously. Today, Skydio announces a new drone developer program, new cinematic skills and a lower price ($1,999) for their self-flying drone. The R1 can now be programmed like any robot to perform a series of tasks.

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Skydio introduces the drone developer platform

Skydio makes their drone and software available for developers so that they can program the self-flying drone to perform a wide series of tasks. It’s called the Skydio Autonomy Engine and it allows third-party developers access to the same exact tools as Skydio’s own engineers.

The company itself has used the same Skydio Autonomy Platform to create a series of cinematic moves that can be initiated with just a tap on the button. It makes it easy to create complex cinematic scenes that would be very hard to achieve with a manually flown drone.

“The Skydio R1 is a new type of drone, built on breakthroughs in subject tracking, path planning, mapping, scene understanding, and collision avoidance. With the release of the Skydio Autonomy Platform, our core technology can be accessed by third-party developers to add an infinite number of additional Skills for a wide range of use cases” said Adam Bry, CEO, and co-founder of Skydio. “We are really excited to see what developers will do. Building on the Skydio Autonomy Platform means harnessing the full weight of the state-of-the-art in AI and robotics to solve your problem” he added.

The Skydio Autonomy Platform

The Skydio Autonomy Platform allows developers to create new ‘Skills’ for the R1. for instance, it will let you create waypoints and issue movement commands while keeping the 360-degree obstacle avoidance activated. It can also be used to create a quick 3D map of its surroundings. the developer platform also provides access to relevant, comprehensive R1 telemetry signals: takeoff-relative position, speed, distance from the ground, location, user location, battery levels, temperature, and more. In a simulation mode, you can test and fine-tune your newly developed ‘Skills’ before executing them in the real world.

Skydio introduces new ‘Skills’

The development team from Skydio went ahead and created some new ‘Skills’ for us already. They added the Cable-Cam feature that flies the drone in a straight line between two waypoints while you can still track your subject and avoid obstacles. They also added a series of One-Shot Skills such as Dronie, Boomerang, Vortex, and Rocket. Lastly, a new Stabilize option in the clip creator tool helps you to make your footage even smoother and more cinematic so that it can be shared with friends right away.

Lastly, now that Skydio sold out of their initial limited edition Frontier Edition R1s and improved their production process, the company will start selling the R1 drone for $1,999 as of today. For people in the Bay Area and soon also in Portland, there will also be the option to rent the self-flying drone so you can try before you buy.

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