Well, kudos to Skydio. Not only do they excel at putting AI into its drones, they also make pretty slick marketing videos. Stick around and see what we mean.
Earlier this year, Skydio announced its X2D series of drones. These are robust, feature-laden craft intended for the military market, as well as law enforcement and first responders. The X2 is one of five US-made drones that are on the Blue sUAS list, which is considered an “approved” list for purchases by some US government departments. (It’s a list, btw, that excludes DJI and other drones where the US is not their country of origin. DJI believes the restrictive list is motivated more by trade protectionism than data security or specifications.) At any rate, with Skydio’s X2D drone getting ready for first shipments, the company has produced a series of videos to show off what the X2D can do in the field.
We’d just seen the first one. And it. Is. Good.
‘Ready for Duty’
It was a week ago, on Veterans Day, when the company released a teaser video for the series. We wrote about it at the time.
On the same day, Skydio also announced that it had made several senior hires of people with military backgrounds. All of this, of course, signals the importance the company places on this segment of the market. And that makes sense, given that the X2D is a pricier drone (we don’t have retail price), and that there’s always significant military demand for the right products.
The video series
Now this is a pretty slick marketing idea. The X2D: Ready for Duty series was filmed in California, but transports the viewer to a village that wouldn’t look out of place in Afghanistan. The premise? The military unit faces a number of challenges in the field, and the Skydio X2D helps them out of a jam every time. And during the video? The action demonstrates what the drone can do, while the narrator fills in the blanks.
The first episode is based on this scenario. Here’s Skydio’s description:
In the first episode, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team uses Skydio X2D to assess the risk, survey the damage, secure the area, and search for survivors of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). With Skydio’s AI-based obstacle avoidance reducing the cognitive load on the pilot, the team is able to fly confidently at low altitude and between obstacles to detect any oncoming threats.
Well done, Skydio
Companies that take this marketing approach often take a risk. Making a scene that’s supposed to re-create a military operation isn’t easy. If the actors and/or directing aren’t up to snuff, it can look pretty cheesy. Plus, there’s always a risk that the sale job overtakes the narrative and we’re reminded it’s simply a form of advertising.
Not so with this first episode. It’s well-shot and very well thought out.
We suspect Skydio will release this soon onto its YouTube channel, but if you’d like to see the full video now, you can start by clicking here.