Skydio X2 self-flying drone takes flight for enterprise and government pilots

Chris Davies - May 4, 2021, 8:35am CDT
Skydio X2 self-flying drone takes flight for enterprise and government pilots

Skydio has begun shipping its X2, the public sector and enterprise version of its self-flying drone, complete with a custom new controller with much further range. Announced last year, the X2 takes the autonomous AI pilot tech that Skydio developed for its consumer drones, and packages it into a foldable, longer-flying version with a selection of different cameras.

It’s sturdier and can fly further than the regular Skydio 2 drone, with an eye on markets like search & rescue, security, asset inspection, and surveys. Skydio says it already has almost 1,000 systems reserved across defense, federal and state agencies, law enforcement and fire departments, construction, engineering, and transportation companies since it announced the new version.

Unlike the Skydio 2 – and the Skydio R1 before it – the X2 has a folding airframe for easier transportation. It also bumps up the flight time, with a single battery good for up to 35 minutes of flight. Perhaps most useful, though, is the extended range: regular users will see around 3.7 miles of range using the commercial 5GHz band, while those allowed to use the restricted 1.8GHz government band could get close to double that.

It’s also more suited for night-time operations. Skydio will have two versions of the drone, with the X2D intended for defense and federal agencies, while the X2E will be for enterprise, first responders, and civilian agencies.

Both will come with a choice of camera systems. First to arrive will be a color/thermal dual sensor. That pairs a 4K60 HDR color camera with a 16x digital zoom and a narrow-angle lens, with a FLIR Boson 320×256 LWIR thermal sensor with an 8x digital zoom.

Coming later, meanwhile, will be a single color camera version. That has a 4K60 HDR sensor with a 16x digital zoom, but switches the lens for a wide-angle version with around an 80-degree horizontal field of view. It’ll be focused on close-up inspections, working hand in hand with Skydio 3D Scan to create three-dimensional models of buildings and other infrastructure.

All versions will work with the new Skydio Enterprise Controller, a dedicated all-in-one controller for the drone. Unlike the Skydio 2, which is designed to be operated either via Skydio’s smartphone app, its wireless remote, or a gamepad-style controller into which a smartphone fits, the enterprise version condenses everything into a single pad.

It has a 6.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen and large, glove-friendly joysticks. There’s also USB-C 3.1 with HDMI support for hooking up the drone’s video output to a bigger display.

As drones go, the Skydio X2 won’t be cheap. Pricing kicks off at $10,999 in a bundle with the Skydio Enterprise Controller and various accessories.


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