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On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at 6:00 PM Polish time, the American drone manufacturer, Skydio, unveiled its latest achievement. The Skydio X10 drone, referred to by the manufacturer as a third-generation drone, indeed appears to be opening a new chapter in the history of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Yesterday's presentation, broadcast from the company's headquarters in sunny California, bore a striking resemblance to presentations led by Steve Jobs. The same minimalist stage setup (or rather, lack thereof) featured a single individual in khaki chinos, an earth-toned t-shirt, and sneakers (yes, I know Jobs favored black – but that's about the only difference), confidently announcing the beginning of a new era. We know Jobs was not mistaken. Is Adam Bry, the CEO and co-founder of Skydio, also correct? Many indications suggest that he is not.

The Skydio X10 drone is a testament to well-learned lessons. It is constructed as if the experts at Skydio sat down and said, "Let's create the best drone for professionals and services. Let's take everything that's best and available in the latest technologies and make a drone that encapsulates it all in a compact, shared enclosure." It can be said that the technology-packed X10 is currently the "smartest" drone in the world – and that's likely to be true. Just look at the new onboard computer, supporting navigation, object recognition, image analysis, and many other advanced features – it's powered by Nvidia Jetson Orin AI, supported by Qualcomm's QRB5165! This provides ten times more computing power than the previous model, the X2D.

Competing with the Skydio X10 will be a real challenge. The company has wisely composed its equipment – interchangeable optical heads are adapted to various tasks, including reconnaissance, surveillance, mapping, or inspection. Among the available lenses, you'll find a telephoto lens with an equivalent focal length of 190mm, a "narrow" lens that offers high detail with an equivalent of 46mm and works with a 64MP sensor, and a "wide" lens providing a 100-degree field of view. Not to be forgotten is the FLIR Boson Plus sensor with a radiometric matrix of 640x512. However, all this equipment would make no sense without AI functions related to object recognition and tracking, including infrared tracking! In this regard, the Skydio drone is similar to Tesla – it also creates a real-time 3D map of the environment and uses it for obstacle avoidance and night navigation. A drone autonomously flying at night through the forest? Yes, please.

Another strong point of the Skydio X10 is the ability to remotely operate the drone via a 5G network and a regular web browser! This will elevate actions such as law enforcement operations, various infrastructure inspections, or object monitoring to a new level. The transmission is encrypted (similar to RC communication) and resistant to hacking attacks. Recently revealed by Skydio, the drone dock will effectively expand the range of possible applications for the X10 and facilitate automation – as it has been announced that it is fully compatible with the new drone.

Skydio X10 has many other new features worth noting: automatically generated 2D maps or semantic 3D scans of the specified space, resulting in automatically generated 3D models "on board," the crosshair coordinates feature, calculating geographical coordinates of the point indicated by the "crosshair" in the center of the camera's view, the scout function, turning the drone into an advanced scout inspecting the space ahead of, for example, a military convoy, and a 156 Wh battery with a weight of just under 700g. It's impossible to list them all here, although many of them were not invented by Skydio in their laboratories. The company followed in the footsteps of Steve Jobs mentioned at the beginning – they took everything we know today about drones, added all available technologies that enhance their functionality and versatility, combined it, dressed it in a neat casing and user-friendly operating system, and presented a groundbreaking tool – the iPhone among drones.

We are eagerly awaiting the first X10 unit, which we will thoroughly test with pleasure.

See the specifications for X10D here.


And now, we invite you to watch the recording of the live stream of the Skydio X10 launch. Straight from San Francisco :)

It's worth getting comfortable and reserving some time to see and understand the possibilities we will have now. It's not just about showcasing technology, but also about the context of its development and implementation. There are many interesting and significant guests and inspirations. Mandatory reading for each of us. Enjoy! See it...

Source: aeroMind distributor of Skydio in Poland and Ukraine

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