California-based drone manufacturer Skydio has confirmed it will discontinue its consumer line of drones immediately. Instead, the company that built its reputation by offering the first hands-free, autonomous drone for action shots is pivoting to exclusively serving private sector and enterprise customers.
‘While Skydio 2 has been an incredible success in enabling new kinds of content capture, Skydio drones are also having a transformative impact for over 1,500 enterprise and public sector customers, putting sensors in dangerous and important places to perform inspections, find missing children, and protect our troops around the world. Our drones are making the core industries that our civilization runs on – public safety, transportation, energy, construction, and defense – safer and more efficient. And it’s becoming more and more clear every day that we need trusted, secure drones to meet these critical applications,’ CEO Adam Bry states in the official announcement via the company’s site.
Skydio has raised 570 million dollars since its seed round in January 2015, including a $230 million Series E round this past February. This brings its total valuation to an estimated 2 billion dollars. The Skydio R1, introduced to the market in early 2018, was revolutionary for its time. Until then, no other manufacturer offered a drone with 360º omnidirectional obstacle detection and navigation.
|Skydio rose to prominence with the R1 drone.|
However, it arrived with a hefty $2,500 price tag and was bulky. Almost two years later, its successor, the Skydio 2, arrived, which was more compact and cost-friendly. A 2+ version – featuring a handheld Beacon for maximum flexibility in maneuvering the drone, an improved 27-minute battery life, 4K/60p video, and features such as Keyframes to appeal to professional filmmakers – was released to capture more of the growing consumer drone market.
DPReview evaluated the Skydio 2+ drone, and while the technology onboard – which includes NVIDIA’s Tegra X2 chip – is impressive, the quality of the imagery simply didn’t match up. Years on, the company still only offered a camera with a Type 1/2.3 sensor.
Nevertheless, consumers are likely disappointed with this decision. Ken Dono, a Skydio customer, who goes by OriginaldoBo on his YouTube channel, summed up his feelings: ‘This is incredibly disappointing because the reason Skydio rose to fame so quickly wasn’t because of their enterprise products. It was because consumers were completely enamored with the fact that this drone was able to avoid obstacles, this drone was so smart – it was unlike anything that was released prior to it.’
Skydio promises to continue software and customer support for its consumer-grade Skydio 2+ Starter, Sports, and Cinema drone models. ‘We will be forever grateful to every consumer who has purchased a Skydio drone. We hope you have enjoyed the product as much as we enjoyed building it and supporting you,’ Bry concludes.