Skydio, maker of the most autonomous consumer drone there ever was, has announced that it is getting out of the consumer-drone space completely, as of this past week. The company will be focusing on “over 1,500 enterprise and public sector customers” that are, to be fair, doing many useful and important things with Skydio drones rather than just shooting videos of themselves like the rest of us. Sigh.
By a lot of metrics, the Skydio 2 is (was?) the most capable drone that was possible for a consumer to get. Lots of drones advertise obstacle avoidance, but in my experience, none of them came anywhere close to the way that Skydio’s drones are able to effortlessly slide around even complex obstacles while reliably tracking you at speed. Being able to (almost) completely trust the drone to fly itself and film you while you ignored it was a magical experience that I don’t think any other consumer drone can offer. It’s rare that robots can operate truly autonomously in unstructured environments, and the Skydio 2 may have been the first robot to bring that to the consumer space. This capability blew my mind even when reviewing a very early prototype in 2016, and it still does.
But Skydio does not exist solely to blow my mind, which is unfortunate for me but probably healthy for them. Instead, the company is focusing more on the public sector, the military, and business customers, which have been using Skydio drones in all kinds of public-safety and inspection applications. In addition to its technology, Skydio has an edge in that it’s one of just a handful of domestic drone producers approved by the Department of Defense.
The impact we’re having with our enterprise and public sector customers has become so compelling that it demands nothing less than our full focus and attention. As a result, I have made the very difficult decision to sunset our consumer business in order to put everything we’ve got into serving our enterprise and public sector customers. —Adam Bry, Skydio CEO
So as of now, you can no longer buy a consumer Skydio 2 from Skydio.
The less terrible news is that Skydio has promised to continue to support existing consumer-drone customers:
We stand by all warranty terms, Skydio Care, and will continue vehicle repairs. Additionally, we will retain inventory of accessories for as long as we can to support the need for replacement batteries, propellers, charging cables, etc.
And since the Skydio 2+ is still being produced for sale for enterprise customers, it seems like those parts and accessories may be available longer than they would be otherwise.
If you don’t have a Skydio 2 consumer drone and you desperately want one, there aren’t a lot of good options. Last time we checked, the Skydio 2+ enterprise kit was US $5,000. Most of that value is in software and support, since the consumer edition of the Skydio 2+ with similar accessories was closer to US $2,400. That leaves buying a Skydio 2 used, or at least buying one from a source other than Skydio. At the moment, there are a couple of Skydio 2 drones on eBay, one of which is being advertised as new.Lastly, there is some very tenuous suggestion that Skydio may not be done with the consumer-drone space forever. In an FAQ on the company’s website about the change in strategy, Skydio says they do not explicitly rule out a future consumer drone. Rather, they’re saying only that “we are not able to share any updates about our future product roadmap.” So I’m just going to cross my fingers and assume that a Skydio 3 may still one day be on the way.
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- How We Trained a Deep Neural Pilot to Autonomously Fly the Skydio Drone ›