Autonomous drone maker Skydio shifts to military and enterprise with its first folding drone

door Defensie Munitiebedrijf

Skydio, a startup that makes autonomous drones that fly themselves with little human intervention, is entering the commercial drone market with its new X2 model. The X2 is Skydio’s first non-consumer device
and it’s marketed toward government agencies, the military, and other organizations that require aerial surveillance or surveying, with its own built-in infrared thermal camera. The X2 announcement coincides with Skydio’s
new round of $100 million in funding, led by German multinational company Siemens’ Next47 firm.
Skydio first entered the market a little more than two years ago with the Skydio R1. The R1 was an autonomous drone that sported impressive artificial intelligence-powered obstacle avoidance and other sensors and software features
that let it seamlessly fly itself through complex outdoor environments like wooded trails while following subjects.

Skydio is launching two versions of the X2 later this year. One is called the X2D and is designed explicitly for the US Army. Skydio refers to it as “the ultimate solution for military and defense to perform reconnaissance, search and rescue,
and security patrol missions.” The other is the X2E, which Skydio says is “optimized for enterprises, first responders, and civilian agencies.” No pricing is announced for either, as it seems likely these devices will be sold as part of larger contracts or
under the terms of specific deals unique to the companies or agencies involved.
The company’s transition from “selfie drone” maker to a potential contractor for the American military is somewhat understandable given the lack of everyday consumer interest in cutting-edge drone tech. But Skydio is positioning this move
as a way to cement a US drone maker as a leading government supplier and a competitor to China-based DJI, which has supplied drones for the US government in the past before concerns of Chinese espionage and
cyberattacks led some agencies to ground their UAV fleets.

Bron: The Verge