Skydio is a young drone startup that was founded by grad students at MIT. They helped pioneer technology for autonomous flight by placing sensors on their aviation robotics. Their years of hard work have come to fruition as Skydio is ready to put their first self-flying drone on the market for consumers.
Known as the R1, Skydio’s self-flying drone is capable of locking onto a person and following him or her around while avoiding all sorts of obstacles. At a glance, one might expect that this technology will help avoid the occasional tree or telephone pole. But the R1 boasts the ability to track a person’s navigation through all sorts of populated terrain, like a dense forest or even a crowded office.
Though Skydio is not the first company to use computer vision-based technology for streamlined flying, consumers should be excited that Skydio is set apart from the competition because of the R1’s ability to fly itself. Skydio has taken much of the technology that self-driving cars have adopted and used it for the aviation world.
Using the R1 is simple. When its users open the Skydio app, a screen will appear of the drone’s point of view. From there, users tap on their designated person, and the R1 will take the necessary inventory of that person, including their size and shape. After a few moments, the process is done and the rest is taken care of. Users can go hands-free as the self-flying drone immediately begins documenting. When the R1 lands, users can creature a shareable clip from their app. Users can also take control of the R1 if desired.
Snowboarders and skiers could launch their drone, race down the side of a mountain, and enjoy all their film later. A skateboarder could launch his or her drone and capture all those perfect aerial moments. Whether bikers, hikers, surfers, freerunners, or just any adventurer, the R1 was certainly made for all sorts of people and moments
The Skydio R1 Frontier Edition currently runs at $2,499. It is equipped with 13 cameras and is powered by a NVIDIA Jetson 256-core AI supercomputer with 4GB of RAM and a Quad-core 64-bit ARM CPU. Its top speed is 25 mph, its battery runs 16 minutes, it weights 2.2 lbs, and its size is 13”x16”x1.5”. The R1 also has a Wi-Fi range of 300 ft.
The Future of Skydio
In addition to the news of the R1’s release, Skydio has also announced that they have raised $42 million worth of funding through IVP, Playground Global, Nvidia, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kevin Durant. To date, Skydio has raised around $70 million dollars. With Skydio becoming a major player in the drone market through their self-flying drone, expect more models with more features and better price points from this young start up to follow.