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When people ask for advice I often ask them what problem are they trying to solve?  Knowing that helps advise them on the best tools they might need to solve it.  Occassionally something comes along that provides us the opportunity to rethink the question.  

The Skydio2 is like that.  Although the drone, in and of itself is not a game changer, the technology that enables it to do what it does certianly is.  Being manufactured in the US, not only is this an alternative to Chinese manufactured drones, but it’s also an alternative to the “traditional” drone period. It’s certainly an exciting advancement in UAV technology. So if you compare it to DJI your missing the point. 

So to illustrate the point, check out this review of the Skydio2 by Evan Ackerman, editor of IEEE Spectrum. 

https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/drones/skydio-2-review-this-is-the-drone-you-want-to-fly

After checking this out let’s see if we can have a discussion about the significance of this new technology and how it could be used differently to solve a problem you might be interested in.

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Well, right off the bat, if GoPro had produced something like this, they would probably still be in the drone business. 

The advanced OA could be super applicable for inspections, even autonomously, in cramped environments.  Or perhaps as a tool for first responders. A dozen craft moving autonomously through disaster debris looking for heat signatures, for example. 

If you can get @Isabella | UAV Coach to offer some kind of prize, you could get a few dozen first-time posters to jump in and comment. Probably not a "conversation" though. 😏

Edited by Dave Pitman
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17 hours ago, Dave Pitman said:

If you can get @Isabella | UAV Coach to offer some kind of prize, you could get a few dozen first-time posters to jump in and comment. Probably not a "conversation" though. 😏

Good one. Guess I'll just cancel that contest I was going to run ;)

But, to chime in, I echo the sentiment about the obstacle avoidance being a "problem solver," particularly in urban environments and inspection use cases. Remeber the inspectors who crashed a drone into Millennium Tower (San Francisco) earlier this year? 

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@Av8Chuck

Thanks for bringing this topic to the forum, it is an interesting discussion. I also agree that the Skydio 2 is not a game changer but it defiantly brings something fresh and exciting to what's currently on the market. The advanced obstacle avoidance on the Skydio 2 is the real game changer and it will be great for filmmaking applications, but I think inspections and other difficult work environment applications would be great for this drone. DJI drones have great obstacle avoidance systems, but sometimes I find  their system to be too sensitive. There have been times where I just turned it off because the obstacle avoidance prevented me from getting a cool shot of flying through trees or really low to the ground. 

I was really interested in possibly purchasing a Skydio 2 because the price is so reasonable for what you get. However, the biggest downfall with the drone in my opinion is the 12 MP camera. I have a Phantom 4 Pro now and if I was to buy a new drone, I would want the camera resolution to be an upgrade. However, I think Skydio is on the right track and it will be exciting to see what the company does next. 

Best, 

 - Chase 

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29 minutes ago, Isabella | UAV Coach said:

Remeber the inspectors who crashed a drone into Millennium Tower (San Francisco) earlier this year? 

Typical gps drop in urban canyon. Craft drops into ATTI and (usually inexperienced) operator doesn't know what to do with drift and does not react.

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That's true. I'm kind of conflicted because I think the tech is great and makes operation safer. But it is also sad that it will allow even more folks who don't learn basic operation to call theselvea a "pro".

That's life I guess. It probably won't be too long before an "operator" is just the human that services the robot.

 

Edited by Dave Pitman
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  • 5 weeks later...

So I've had a Skydio 2 for two weeks now and I thought I'd join the conversation now that I have time flight time.  Keep in mind my perspective (and reason for purchasing the drone) as a real estate videographer.

Bottom line up front:  while impressive from an engineering and autonomy standpoint, the S2 is not quite ready for professional use just yet.  There are still some bugs that need to be squashed before it's ready to go:

The good stuff:  The S2 is very well built and elegantly designed.  The person & car tracking are impressive, especially when coupled with the obstacle avoidance.  On obstacle avoidance quality and how its integrated into the flight dynamics, I feel the S2 is by far the best on the market.  

The bad stuff - user Interface:  There's no histogram, no zebras, no white balance, and no indication of exposure on the main flight screen.  

Hand controller:  The drone drifts after releasing the controls and there's no way to adjust this in the flight control app.  It's particularly bad when ascending and descending.  The drone will drift another four or five feet after control release - something that strangely does not happen when only using the phone as a controller.  **Note that using a phone and its weak wifi link as a controller for RE photography is not an option for a variety of flight safety reasons.  

You cannot take RAW photos when using the hand controller.  You have to reach up and hit the soft key on the flight screen.  According to Skydio this is a known bug.  

Initial C2 linking with the hand controller is sporadic and unpredictable.  Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

Image quality:  The S2's camera posted some extremely impressive results for a 12MP camera when compared to DJI's 1" sensor 20MP cameras by Nomicam:image-quality-report.pdf?9538

Unfortunately, the RAW still photos from the S2 are laden with artifacts, moire, and banding.  The video image quality is extremely good, but is over sharpened.  This would be okay if there were a way to adjust sharpness in the flight control app, but there isn't.  

There are some other minor quirks like the drone automatically shooting video from the moment you take off, so you always get an extra clip with every flight.  The drone also won't take off at night, which seems weird to me since supposedly some PD in California (Chula Vista?) is using the S2.  

The bottom line with the S2 is that all the hardware pieces are there for this to be a GREAT drone.  Skydio just needs some firmware tweaking and additional features in the app to get to the point where this can be used for routine RE photo & video work.  

I made Skydio HQ aware of all my observations about a week ago and got an email response stating they were going to share my thoughts with the team.  

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