Skydio Debuts Autonomous R1 Drone With 4K Camera, Obstacle Avoidance

Redwood City, Calif.-based Skydio has announced the availability of its first product: R1, a fully autonomous “self-flying camera” powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

According to the company, the drone was built from the ground up by a team of researchers and engineers. R1 is powered by the NVIDIA Jetson and the Skydio Autonomy Engine, enabling the aircraft to see and understand the world around it in order to fly safely at high speeds while avoiding obstacles. R1 can see people and anticipate how they will move, letting the drone make intelligent decisions about how to get the smoothest 4K footage in real time, says Skydio.

Furthermore, R1 – suited for “athletes, adventurers and creators alike” – is built with lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber and features a slim design that allows the drone to fit in a backpack, Skydio says.

The company notes that the only tool pilots need to capture 4K video with R1 is the Skydio mobile app. With the swipe of a finger in the app, R1 is launched, and pilots can then capture shots with a single tap, thanks to modes such as follow, orbit or side. After landing, users can also make HD video clips of the flight through the app.

Skydio-R1-Side-1-e1518625161317 Skydio Debuts Autonomous R1 Drone With 4K Camera, Obstacle Avoidance
Skydio was launched by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates Abe Bachrach, Adam Bry and Matt Donahoe in 2014. Bachrach and Bry were also two of the founders of Google[x]’s Project Wing. Three years ago, Skydio secured $3 million in funding backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Accel Partners to help kick-start the development of its autopilot technology. Now also backed by IVP, Playground Global and NVIDIA, Skydio recently closed a $42 million Series B, bringing its total funding to $70 million.

“The promise of the self-flying camera has captured people’s imaginations, but today’s drones still need to be flown manually for them to be useful,” says Bry, CEO. “We’ve spent the last four years solving the hard problems in robotics and AI necessary to make fully autonomous flight possible. We’re incredibly excited about the creative possibilities with R1, and we also believe that this technology will enable many of the most valuable drone applications for consumers and businesses over the coming years.”

Skydio’s drone is now available in the U.S. and Canada for $2,499.

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