Autonomous 3D Scanning of Industrial Structures

Skydio, a U.S. drone manufacturer and leader in autonomous flight technology, has announced the upcoming availability of a new autonomous drone platform for enterprise and public sector, the Skydio X2. Skydio also announced several new software solutions that simplify inspections and situational awareness workflows. The software technologies, and Skydio 2, are part of the company’s accelerated product roadmap for the enterprise and government market, and were announced in concert with $100M in Series C funding.

Despite the tremendous potential that drones hold, their adoption among enterprises remains limited. In a recent poll, 55% of enterprise users pointed at the risk of crashes as the top concern with conventional manual drones, followed by hiring experienced pilots and data security concerns. The productivity loss and safety issues created by manual drones prevent organizations from scaling their programs.

“Manual drones lack the software intelligence that enterprises need to scale their programs,” said Adam Bry, Skydio CEO. “Skydio’s goal is to unlock the value of drones by creating a radically simple user experience through the power of true autonomy. With Skydio 2 (S2) we’ve proven that our autonomy software can fundamentally change the way people use drones, and that an American company can not only compete, but can lead the way in AI-powered drone technology.”

Skydio Autonomy is the AI-powered brain built into every Skydio drone. Our autonomy technology enables a breakthrough flight experience and can be extended with specialized software skills to perform end to end automation of complex workflows. Leveraging advanced computer vision and deep learning, it creates a 3D understanding of the drone’s surroundings in real-time and predicts into the future to make intelligent decisions. Skydio Autonomy enables Skydio drones to fly themselves with the skills of an expert pilot. It can also serve as an expert copilot, turning anyone into a skilled operator, while Skydio Autonomy dynamically controls the drone’s navigation to avoid obstacles even in GPS-denied environments.

Thanks to these unmatched autonomy capabilities, the Skydio 2 is already being used by enterprises and government agencies. Today, leading organizations who use the S2 to simplify data collection in inspection, search and rescue, situational awareness, and emergency response use cases.

Skydio X2. Built for business. Ready for duty.

Skydio X2 is a new family of products that pairs breakthrough autonomy software with a ruggedized airframe with 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 360-degree obstacle avoidance and a dual sensor payload that includes 12MP color and 320×256 LWIR sensors. The Skydio X2E variant, optimized for enterprises, 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. X2 drones include the Skydio Autonomy Core, Skydio’s world-leading flight AI engine. Out-of-the-box, X2 users will benefit from autonomous navigation with 360-degree, real-time obstacle avoidance, object detection and motion prediction.

X2 pairs with the new enterprise-grade Skydio Enterprise Controller with a built-in touch screen, glove-compatible controls, and a new wireless system to extend range up to 6.2 kilometers. Additional X2 features include:

  • 360 Superzoom for maximum situational awareness at 360 degrees. Superzoom blends the drone’s seven on-board cameras to let the pilot see in all directions while flying, and provides up to 100x digital zoom with high quality video resolution and electronic image stabilization.
  • Precision Mode for maximum control while performing detailed inspections or getting tactical situational awareness in dense, challenging, GPS-denied environments. Skydio’s autonomy engine can be tuned to enable high precision response to controller inputs and to safely fly in close proximity to obstacles (0.5 meters).
  • Vertical View to capture images by looking straight up overhead. Combined with Skydio Autonomy’s Obstacle Avoidance technologies, allows users to focus on overhead inspection targets, instead of dedicating their inspection camera to avoiding obstacles.

Skydio 3D Scan. Autonomous inspection of industrial structures

The first of its kind general-purpose digital scan software for inspections of complex industrial structures and locations, such as bridges, building facades, energy infrastructure, accident and crime scenes, 3D Scan is powered by a new real-time visual 3D reconstruction layer built on top of Skydio Autonomy Enterprise Foundation.

Unlike inspection conducted with manual drones, Skydio 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.

Thanks to Skydio’s close proximity obstacle avoidance and full range gimbal motion, Skydio 3D Scan can be used to accurately inspect any structure, even with obliques and concavities, and can inspect areas inaccessible to other drones, such as the bottom of bridges, walls, overhangs, and near-the-ground details.

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