Could Skydio Drone be the new SPY in the Sky? Forbes have reported US government contracts being courted. It may not be far off.
In todays world if you are a drone manufacturer the mark of success is not Casey Neistat crashing your new must-have release. Its a juicy government contract, and Skydio seem to be on the bandwagon.
Founded by two ex-Google software engineers and former MIT students – CEO Adam Bry and CTO Abraham Bachrach – it made its name as a fun, artificial intelligence-powered, consumer-focused unmanned aerial system.
Marketed as the ultimate selfie-drone, the Skydio is able to autonomously track and film a subject, only needing an iPhone or Android smartphone to fly.
Police, Camera, Action
Forbes reported that In May, the DEA gave a $190,000 contract to Skydio, following a $16,000 order in August 2019.
That same year, it also scored a $3 million contract with the U.S. Army and a $1.5 million deal with the Air Force, as it ramps up government work.
Those awards built on work with local police departments that Skydio has been more vocal about.
If government contracts are deemed an “easy” sell for manufacturers, by that we mean they can deliver large numbers to one enduser with an ongoing support package. Where does that leave recreational flyers?
Skydio is not alone in this endeavour. DJI have long been marketing to public order agencies, using consumer popularity as a platform.
Future of Drones
Many drone flyers are feeling the future of recreational drone flying could be under threat.
Changing legislation seems disproportionate when compared to the safety record. With manufacturers focusing on government contracts are consumer versions being watered-down?
Skydio responded to Forbes with the following statement:
“Skydio aims to achieve the transformative potential of drones to benefit our lives and our society. Consumers use Skydio drones to capture stunning videos of their adventures. Commercial enterprises rely on Skydio to conduct safety-critical inspections of bridges and power plants, protecting workers from harm, and keeping our infrastructure running.
“We believe drones hold the promise of enormous positive impact with public safety agencies. The ability of firefighters, emergency medical providers, and police to obtain real-time situational awareness in dangerous scenarios results in improved decision making, greater accountability, and greater leadership involvement in events as they unfold. There are already many examples of drones saving lives in search and rescue missions. Drones have also delivered critical information that allowed first responders to de-escalate a situation (for example determining a suspect was holding a cigarette lighter rather than a gun). Similar to body cameras, the video record from drones helps drive accountability.
“At the same time, we recognize that drone technology, like other forms of technology, can be misused. Skydio is firmly committed to developing drone technology, and the rules that govern the use of drones, in a manner that protects privacy and civil liberties.
“That commitment shapes everything we do. In our work with government customers, Skydio highlights and promotes the bedrock obligation to uphold civil liberties – including the First Amendment freedom to peaceably assemble and petition for change. Further, Skydio drones do not have facial recognition technology.
“In these tumultuous times, Skydio supports those demonstrating for justice and equality, and we condemn anyone – uniformed, elected, or otherwise – who seeks to bring them harm. We are committed to developing technology in a responsible manner that advances both safety and liberty.”
Where can you buy a Skydio?
That is the question.. where can you buy? Answers on a postcard please.