US drone maker Skydio has today started shipping its first business drones with prices starting at an enterprise-worthy $ 10,999. Best known as a pioneer of self-flying drone technology, Skydio has shifted its focus from a consumer market dominated by Chinese giant DJI to corporate clients in recent years.
This change is partly due to geopolitics. The US government blacklisted several Chinese drones last year for fear of espionage, meaning law enforcement, military and federal customers are looking more towards US companies instead. The move helped take Skydio to a $ 1 billion valuation, no doubt aided by the higher prices such companies can charge.
Skydio’s X2 drone, originally announced last year, is available in two main variants. There is the X2D for “defense and federal agencies” and the X2E for “corporations, first responders and civilian agencies”. Both units are available in two configurations. The former has dual-color / thermal sensors and is ‘optimized for far-away situational awareness’ (there’s a 4K60 HDR camera with 16x digital zoom and ~ 46 ° field of view, as well as a FLIR Boson 320 x 256 thermal camera with 8x digital zoom). The second has only the color camera (although the lens has been upgraded to ~ 80 ° field of view) and is intended for “close-up inspections of infrastructure assets, scene reconstruction and small area mapping”.
Pricing for the color thermal configuration, which ships today, is unknown, but the color-only units, available for pre-order only, start at $ 10,999. Each drone is bundled with different accessories and the company enterprise controller, with an impact-resistant construction, 6.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen and glove-compatible joysticks.
Along with the drones, Skydio is also launching its Skydio Cloud service, which provides various fleet management tools. It allows customers to track the status and location of multiple drones in real time, stream images from each unit and merge recorded data in one place. It sounds ideal for large-scale mapping and inspection work.
Despite its focus on corporate clients, Skydio has said it isn’t giving up on hobbyists and amateur drone pilots. The company’s CEO, Adam Bry, said The edge Last year there will be more drones for consumers, but we just don’t know when. Until then: look at the sky.