Redwood City-based drone startup Skydio today announced it raised $100 million, bringing its total raised to $170 million. Coinciding with the fundraising, it unveiled a new family of drones — the X2 — and software solutions designed to simplify inspections and enterprise-oriented workflows.
Skydio X2 pairs the company’s autonomous navigation tech with a ruggedized airframe and folding arms for easy “pack and go” transportation, a thermal camera,
and up to 35 minutes of flight time. X2 is equipped with six 4K navigation cameras for obstacle avoidance and a dual-sensor payload that includes 12MP color and LWIR sensors. It’ll come with a new “enterprise-grade” Enterprise Controller with a built-in touch screen, glove-compatible controls, and a wireless system to extend range up to 6.2 kilometers, and it’ll initially be available starting in Q4 2020 in two configurations:
- Skydio X2D, built to meet the Short-Range Reconnaissance (SRR) requirements for the
U.S. Army, the X2D is the ultimate solution for military and defense to perform
reconnaissance, search and rescue, and security patrol missions.
- Skydio X2E, optimized for enterprises, first responders, and civilian agencies, the X2E
is the ideal solution for situational awareness and inspection of infrastructure such as
buildings, bridges, power plants, power stations and railyards. Skydio’s autonomous
navigation technology makes it safe to fly at close distance to capture more accurate
data than traditional manual drones.
Like Skydio 2, the X2D and 2XE will benefit from the company’s Autonomy Core, which handles navigation with 360-degree, real-time obstacle avoidance, object detection, and motion prediction. Leveraging advanced computer vision and deep learning, the Autonomy Core creates a 3D understanding of the drone’s surroundings in real-time and predicts into the future to make intelligent decisions, dynamically controlling the drone’s flight to avoid obstacles even in GPS-denied environments.
Both the X2 series and Skydio’s existing drones can be enhanced with the forthcoming Autonomy Enterprise Foundation, an aftermarket software upgrade that enhances core Autonomy with pilot-assist capabilities like 360-degree zoom up to 100 times digital zoom, precision mode for flights within 0.5 meters of obstacles, and a vertical mode that captures images by looking straight up overhead.
Another headliner of Autonomy Enterprise Foundation is 3D Scan, which is designed for inspections of complex industrial structures and locations, such as bridges, building facades, energy infrastructure, accident and crime scenes. Skydio claims that 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.
X2 also boasts Skydio House scan, a feature developed in partnership with aerial imagery provider Eagleview. House scan, which will be available in Q4 2020, enables home insurance agents to automatically perform accurate inspection of residential homes safely and without the need to become expert drone pilots.
Skydio — whose customers include Civil Air Patrol, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Southern Company, Chula Vista PD, and Japan Infrastructure Waymark — says it plans to use the aforementioned series C funding to accelerate product development and go-to-market expansion in enterprise and public sector markets. Next47 led the round with participation from Levitate Capital, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, and Playground,