Out of nowhere, Skydio has just announced its jumping into the enterprise market with its new Skydio X2 industrial drone — the first of a planned series of products for this sector. The Skydio X2 line adds a FLIR thermal camera, a 360-degree camera, a flight time of 35 minutes, a folding design, 3D Scanner and oh dear lawd, a 100X zoom…

Earlier today, Skydio announced its brand new drone via Twitter, saying the X2 signals a new family of drones that combines its outstanding AI software with enterprise-grade features. The news comes as Skydio also announces it has received $100 million in Series C funding.

Skydio X2 family

Skydio X2D

The Skydio X2 line is a new family of drones, and it’s launching with two models. One of those, the Skydio X2D, will be built for short-range reconnaissance missions for the US Army and will be used in search and rescue, and security patrol missions.

Skydio X2E

The Skdyio X2E will be built for the enterprise world, first responders, and civilian agencies. The X2E is built to obtain situational awareness, inspect infrastructure, and also for search & rescue operations (including night-time) and other First Responder use.

The features

The Skydio X2 family features the same autonomous system found in the Skydio 2 — a system that has been praised for its outstanding Artificial Intelligence. The X2 line features an extended flight time of 32 minutes.

The new drones also feature a new enterprise controller — which looks a bit like a ruggedized tablet integrated with two antennae and joysticks. The drone systems have a range of 6.2 miles. Along with the new controller, Skydio will soon roll out a new enterprise app with the drone — capable of producing 3D scans of the environment and unlocking new features once they become available. The app will also support the Skydio 2.

Skydio has completely redesigned the camera module on the X2, giving it a FLIR Boson thermal camera capable of 320 x 256 — four times the resolution of the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise. The second camera added to the gimbal is a 100X zoom camera that has been merged with the six 4k 360-degree vision cameras to give a full view around the drone that can be zoomed in on if needed.

The new Skydio X2 drones are built with carbon fiber and can now be folded up for transport. The new design also integrates visible lights and IR illuminators into the arms of the drone to allow for clear footage to be captured in low-light conditions or at night. When flying at night, the drone uses a GPS and inertial navigation system to ensure the flight is safe. Obstacle avoidance is disabled during night flight. The Skydio X2 series will be available in Q4 this year without pricing being announced yet.

The software

With the two new drones, Skydio has released powerful new software alongside the hardware. The Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation builds on Skydio’s core autonomy system with powerful piloted-assisted features to make flights even safer and more efficient.

360 Superzoom

360 superzoom essentially combines the drone’s vision cameras with the new zoom camera on the gimbal of the drone to allow the pilot to get a 360-degree view from the drone and then zoom in with the main camera on an area of interest.

Precision mode

Precision mode has been created to make it easier for pilots to work in close quarters with nearby objects or obstructions. In that mode, the drone uses highly sensitive and precise controller input to allow the operator to fly up to .5 meters from obstacles. Normally, collision avoidance would prevent this from happening without the override.

Vertical view

Vertical view allows the pilot to look straight up to inspect assets without worrying about hitting an obstacle thanks to the obstacle avoidance system built into the Skydio X2 family.

Skydio 3D scan and Skydio House scan

Skydio has built-in inspection software that creates a highly detailed 3D scan of infrastructure. The autonomous system works even in GPS-denied environments. Skydio has also created Skydio House Scan, which allows insurance companies to create autonomous 3D scans of houses without needing a drone pilot to capture the images manually or program waypoints.

What it means for the rest

With Skydio officially entering the enterprise market, Parrot — and especially DJI — have been put on notice. There’s new competition in town.

Skydio already likely has an edge when it comes to autonomous functions with its AI software. It also has the bonus of being made in the US at a time when some government agencies are — rightly or wrongly — shying away from products made outside of the country over security concerns. Depending on the price point, this could be a highly competitive product, squaring off against drones like DJI’s Mavic Enterprise And Parrot’s Anafi USA and offering better optical features.

DroneDJ’s take

Skydio making this massive move into the commercial market will do them a world of wonders. The Skydio 2 has already been picked up by some police departments, but the product has lacked a thermal camera and other industrial features.

With the X2 line, Skydio has opened up its autonomous drone platform to a world of possibilities in the enterprise space. Its outstanding feature set, coupled with the AI Skydio has built a name with, is going to be an impressive combination.

What do you think of the Skydio X2 family of drones? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo: Skydio

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