U.S. drone maker Skydio began shipping its first corporate drones today with prices starting at $ 10,999. Skydio is best known as a pioneer in autonomous drone technology, but in recent years it has shifted its focus from a consumer market dominated by Chinese giant DJI to court business.
This change is partly due to geopolitics. The US government blacklisted various Chinese drones over spy fears last year, which means law enforcement, military and federal government customers are turning more to businesses American. The change helped push Skydio to a billion dollar valuation, no doubt aided by the higher prices such a company can command.
Skydio’s X2 drone, originally announced last year, comes in two major flavors. There is the X2D for “defense and federal agencies” and the X2E for “businesses, first responders and civilian agencies”. Both units are available in two configurations. The first has dual color / thermal sensors and is “optimized for long-range situational awareness” (there is a 4K60 HDR camera with 16x digital zoom and ~ 46 ° field of view as well as a FLIR Boson thermal camera. 320 x 256 with 8x digital zoom). The second only has the color camera (but with the lens upgraded to a field of view of around 80 °) and is intended for ‘close-up inspections of infrastructure, reconstruction of scenes and mapping small areas ”.
Prices for the Color Thermal Configuration, which start shipping today, are unknown, but color-only units, available only for pre-order, start at $ 10,999. Each drone comes with various accessories and the company’s corporate controller, which features impact-resistant construction, a 6.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen, and glove-compatible joysticks.
Along with drones, Skydio is also launching its Skydio Cloud service today, which provides various fleet management tools. These allow customers to track the status and location of multiple drones in real time, stream images from any unit, and consolidate recorded data in one place. It is ideal for large scale mapping and inspection work.
Despite the focus on business, Skydio said he’s not giving up on hobbyists and hobbyist drones. Company CEO Adam Bry said The edge last year new consumer drones are coming, but we just don’t know when. Until then: watch the sky.