The best autonomous drone just got better

The best autonomous drone just got better


– Nobody is flying this drone. There’s no human at the controls. This flying camera can follow me without crashing into trees
or obstacles all by itself. It maps out the world
using a set of cameras, it predicts where I’ll go, and it keeps me in the shot. It’s called the Skydio 2, and it’s one of the most amazing gadgets I’ve ever flown? (electronic music) Last year I got the chance
to play with its predecessor, the Skydio R1, which could also follow me through a park without crashing into trees. I wanted it so badly. But the actual product just
didn’t make any sense to buy. It was big. I couldn’t fit it in my backpack. I couldn’t really fly
it like a normal drone because it didn’t have a controller, and it cost $2,000 on sale. But today, Skydio is launching a second, more consumer-friendly
model, the Skydio 2. The Skydio 2 does fit into a backpack, and at $1,000 without a controller, it’s going head to head with
DJI’s Mavic Drones in price. Only it does have an optional controller, one that lets you take the
Skydio out to three kilometers instead of being tied
to your phone’s WiFi, and one that Skydio says a three year old could learn to fly. Here’s how easy. I’m just pushing forward
on the right analog stick, and it’s dodging these trees by itself. You can do the same thing backwards too, since it’s got omni-directional sensing. But I’d be lying if I said this rebranded $150 Parrot Anafi controller is the thing that excites
me about this drone. Or even the 40% battery life
increased to 23 minutes, or the 50% decrease in size and weight. It’s that Skydio’s
second gen flying system is even more impressive than the one that blew me away last year. While the Skydio 2 only has six cameras to the R1’s original 12, they’re no longer the low-res
black and white affair that couldn’t see tiny
tree branches reliably. They’re 4K, full color, with a 200 degree field of view. Skydio says that’s
enough angular resolution and processing power to
see smaller obstacles from far enough away to fly fully autonomous at 36 miles per. And if you’re mostly looking
for a drone that flies itself, the company has another
intriguing optional controller you’ll be able to buy. This is an Airwalk that
lets me just point it where I’d like the drone to go, or tap a few buttons to set its course. But it also doubles as a GPS beacon, so the Skydio can
automatically hunt you down, even if its cameras lose
track of where you’re going. Even in my brief demo, it was clear the navigation
system has been improved. Watch this. The original Skydio R1 would’ve totally gotten
stuck behind this fence. And I saw the Skydio 2 whip around to keep me in the shot in ways the original wouldn’t
have dared to attempt. Here’s a mind-blowing video of what the drone actually
sees according to Skydio. The company claims the camera
system’s intelligent enough you can fly it indoors, too. Of course, none of this
matters if the drone doesn’t capture photos
and videos worth sharing, and it seems Skydio’s improved there, too. You’re looking at a 12.3
megapixels Sony sensor at F2.8, that shoots 4K video up
to 60 frames per second at up to 100 megabits per second, or 120 FPS at 1080p if you
want to try some basic slum. It’s a little bit choppy
here in low lighting without an ND filter. But we can already see greatly
improved dynamic range. And Skydio says it’ll have third party snap on magnetic
filters post launch, if that’s what’s keeping you away. It also helps that
Skydio 2 has a three axis gimbal for stabilization this time, one that can also point fully upwards. You know, in case some industrial
warehouse wants a drone that can inspect a
vehicle’s undercarriage. That could happen, by the way. While the consumer version of Skydio 2 is programmed to keep a
one meter protective bubble around itself at all times, they’re letting partners bring
that down to 50 centimeters to slowly squeeze into human sized spaces. And the company says it’ll be announcing some
partnerships down the road. But here’s something else
fascinating about Skydio. These drones aren’t coming
out of a Chinese factory. They’re all made right here
in Redwood City, California, where former Apple and Tesla engineers are stress testing every
piece of this drone. Co-founder Adam Bry says every single Skydio R1 was
built and shipped right here on this miniature assembly line, and the Skydio 2 will
be the same to start. Here’s where they put thermal compound on the magnesium alloy frame, which acts as a giant heat
sink for all the chips. Here’s the industrial robot arm that tests all the drone’s cameras. Bry says every single drone will run the gauntlet before it ships. What we’re seeing here is impressive, both for what this drone is capable of, and that they’re able
to build it right here. But it also makes me a tad skeptical. The Skydio 2 is trying to
be the drone for everyone. For people who’d never
dream of flying a drone ’cause they’re afraid of crashing it, for aerial cinematographers, and yet it’s just this
tiny bay of stations producing this craft for theoretically everyone who’d want it. So for now, you’re gonna
have to put some money down. Skydio says these will be
available in limited quantities, and it’s asking for $100
deposit on your pre order. I’m impressed enough that I’m
seriously thinking about it if I were an early adopter dying to show this off to my friends. But I coulda said that about
the $2500 Skydio R1 as well, and I didn’t actually end up buying that. But that’s me spending an hour
with the Skydio 2 in a park. We’re gonna put this drone
through its paces later this year and tell you if it’s really worth buying. Thank you for watching our
video with a flying robot. If you liked that, check out our video with a walking robot dog named spot. Also, this is me falling
off a scooter, good bye.

60 thoughts on “The best autonomous drone just got better”

  1. Who EIse is a true fan of The Verge? 😍 If you are watching this… Have a phenomenal day and rest of 2019!🌹

  2. Really like this design i would love to own it but wish it was a little bit more cheaper 🤔🤔👍🏽👍🏽

  3. Been using this the passed month and it’s hands down my favorite tech ever. The beacon is a game changer and having a controller just completes the package. You can quite literally get any shot you want.

  4. I hope Skydio 3 can use those sensor cameras for recording 360 videos….but for now…shut up and take my money!! 😀

  5. I’ve been following Skydio for two years now and I’m super impressed with their tech. I also dig how chill Sean is.

  6. Can this some how be used for home security? Like it can be set to deploy from a smart phone and have a set route to scan the area and if it see someone it can follow and record?

  7. It's awesome, it really is, but I think what the company is missing is that a big part of the fun of drones like the mavic and others is that you actually get to fly and control it, (but with enough autonomous features to help you out in a pinch!) If you aren't flying it in anyway at all, the fun goes away and you are just left with a fancy camera, which is great but……

  8. It's great to know that it's not assembled in some place where workers almost have no rights like in some place in China, Bangladesh or something.

  9. Next time it would be great if you didn't create loads of drop frames by mixing framerates when editing. The footage looks choppy and awful and I'm pretty sure that's not Skydio's fault.

  10. Damn this is good.. Hopefully in Gen 3 they can add in foldable arms and a better main camera with a longer battery which can be easily swapped.. They would nail the device..

  11. why verge and CNET are hiring grandmas instead of interesting people who can make tech reviews awesome not like this which can make people sleep.

  12. Damn! If you haven’t seen “Angel has fallen” yet, this shot is creepy. I just order one, along with tinfoil hat. 🤷‍♂️

  13. So, since I already have an Anafi, I figure I could use the same controller with the Skydio 2? Or would that not work?

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