Skydio, the American drone company known for the Artificial Intelligence capabilities of its products, today announces a partnership that will lead to 5,000 drone sales and a vastly more efficient system for inspecting damaged roofs. It has joined forces with EagleView, a leading aerial imaging and data analytics company with deep expertise in machine learning and building inspections. It is, say those involved, likely the biggest commercial drone deal to date.

Despite setbacks caused by the global COVID19 pandemic, Skydio still managed to have an outstanding year. The company’s Skydio 2, a drone starting at $999 US with impressive AI capabilities, received critical acclaim. It also unveiled its Skydio X2, a robust-looking enterprise and military drone equipped with thermal imaging plus a unique 360 Zoom feature that allows the pilot to see the “big picture” before zooming in on a specific location of interest. Its products are US-made, which matters to the current administration. Plus, it’s heading into a growth phase following its $100M Series C Round.

That’s the context. And it makes today’s announcement quite significant.

AI and automation

Skydio is all about automation. Its software can fly a drone better than a pilot. That ability makes the Skydio 2 an ideal choice for any kind of repetitive work that involves gathering and processing data.

Skydio’s new X2 Enterprise drone

EagleView, meanwhile, has a wealth of experience with aerial imaging and data crunching for properties. Now, the two have joined forces in an ambitious new partnership that includes software integration.

This is part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar exclusive partnership to deliver Skydio House Scan™ to several major country markets. The partnership brings the power of precision drone technology and AI to insurance carriers, claims adjusters, and government bodies…

Skydio/EagleView News Release

“It’s probably the largest commercial drone deal ever,” Alberto Farronato, Skydio’s Chief Marketing Officer, told DroneDJ in a briefing. “It’s going to result in over 5000 drones being deployed.”

Roof inspections

The partnership is all about doing roof inspections for insurance purposes as efficiently and accurately as possible. No one needs to actually ‘fly’ the Skydio 2 drone – it will do that itself. All the operator needs to do is outline a polygon around the boundaries of the building in question. Then it’s a simple matter of telling the Skydio 2 to do its thing. It will take off and scan the entire roof at an altitude of one meter above the surface for high resolution, then come back and land once the operation is complete.

Some 5000 Skydio 2 drones are involved in the deal

The whole process is designed and automated in a way that doesn’t require inspectors to become drone pilots. Literally you can do the entire scan of the roof with probably five clicks, if you consider that there’s a polygon with four angles that you need to drag and drop.

Alberto Farronato, Skydio CMO

EagleView believes there’s real synergy in combining the expertise of the two firms.

EagleView is excited to partner with Skydio to deliver breakthrough innovation for residential roof inspection that puts autonomous drone technology and unparalleled image quality to work for our customers. EagleView’s images are already 16 times clearer than those of satellites, and with Skydio’s drones you’ll be able to not only spot a dime on the roof but see the face of Franklin D. Roosevelt stamped on it. This partnership allows customers to confidently make decisions while lowering costs.

Chris Jurasek, CEO of EagleView

House Scan

A big part of the AI mix here is Skydio’s House Scan software. It takes off and uses AI to guide it over the roof of the entire structure. It keeps going until it knows it has captured everything required. This video provides a really good look at some of the key features of the software.

Slick scanning software

An EagleView application that can assess damage and identify other features (such as a skylight, chimney etc.) integrates with House Scan. So the end result is not only a precise, high-resolution data capture – but an automated analysis of that data. The entire end-to-end process, with the exception of drawing that initial polygon, is automated.

We are excited to partner with EagleView to revolutionize the residential roof inspection market through the power of autonomous drones and AI. Together with Eagleview, we provide insurance carriers, claims adjusters, construction companies, and government bodies with a first-of-its-kind integrated solution that automates the entire inspection process. Thanks to the unique flight autonomy capabilities of Skydio drones, we are able to enhance virtual property inspections, delivering exceptional accuracy, consistency, and image quality.

Adam Bry, CEO of Skydio

The backstory

During our briefing with Skydio, we asked the company how this partnership came about. Seems the catalyst was an incident where someone was seriously injured while carrying out an inspection. EagleView wanted to find a better way.

The traditional way of inspecting roofs is not safe at all. They (EagleView) started evaluating drone options. Through the process it became clear to them, as they looked at the autonomy that Skydio can provide, (there was) a much higher degree of automation and precision and data collection. And so from there, we struck a technology and commercial partnership.

Alberto Farronato, Skydio CMO

Why not automate?

DroneDJ’s view

This is, in our view, a very significant announcement capitalizing on the strengths of two companies and a clear need in the marketplace. It’s also a nod to the power of excellent AI, which allows the process to be automated and streamlined. Five thousand drones over three years is a lot of drones, and it’s expected this partnership will expand to offering services in other countries.

What’s interesting here is that EagleView, based on our understanding, identified a market need. It then identified Skydio as potentially being part of a combined solution. If EagleView is coming forward, you can bet other firms involved with processes that could benefit from automated data acquisition and analysis are also starting to look at these options. Not all companies want to train drone pilots or hire them from outside. We believe offering a fully automated solution is going to appeal to a lot of companies.

It’s all about the data….

As the drone industry has evolved, we’ve seen the rapid growth of the Enterprise market. Usually, however, utilizing these tools has meant small purchases by companies for specific locations and purposes. Yes, fleets of drones have been purchased by some government agencies. But this deal is big. Other than the military, we’re not aware of anything approaching this size and scale.

And that bodes well for the industry in general…and Skydio in particular.

Company details

About Eagleview, as per the joint news release:

EagleView is a leader in aerial imagery, machine learning-derived data analytics and software, helping customers in different industries use property insights for smarter planning, building, and living. With more than 200 patents, EagleView pioneered the field of aerial property measurements and has the largest multi-modal image database in history, covering 98 percent of the U.S. population. Flying over 9.5 million linear miles every year, EagleView’s coverage is the most extensive and up to date, enabling local government and business customers to use the most accurate data to make timely and informed decisions. For more information, call (866) 659-8439, visit www.eagleview.com and follow @EagleViewTech.

About Skydio, as per the joint release:

Skydio is the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight. Skydio leverages breakthrough AI to create the world’s most intelligent flying machines for use by consumer, enterprise, and government customers. Founded in 2014, Skydio is made up of leading experts in AI, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles from top companies, research labs, and universities from around the world. Skydio designs, assembles, and supports its products in the U.S. from its headquarters in Redwood City, CA, to offer the highest standards of supply chain and manufacturing security. Skydio is trusted by leading enterprises across a wide range of industry sectors and is backed by top investors and strategic partners including Andreesen Horowitz, Levitate Capital, Next47, IVP, Playground, and NVIDIA.

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