California-based drone startup Skydio is flying high after receiving the 2021 Best of Innovation Award for Drones and Unmanned Systems at CES for the company’s Skydio X2.
Given ahead of CES’s first-ever, all-digital expo on Jan. 11-14, the award is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products across 28 product categories. “An elite panel of industry expert judges, including members of the media, designers, engineers and more, reviewed submissions based on innovation, engineering and functionality, aesthetic and design,” CES officials explain.
Skydio X2 is the company’s latest autonomous drone line for enterprise and public sector customers. The drone pairs Skydio Autonomy, an AI-driven system that “gives drones the skills of an expert pilot,” with a foldable, portable airframe that leverages hyper-strength composites to withstand the most demanding environments.
X2 mounts a dual 12MP color optical plus 320×256 FLIR thermal sensor and is equipped with GPS-based night flight and strobe lighting, making it airworthy for day and night operations, while providing up to 35 minutes of flight time on a single battery. The drone provides the aerial data collection solution for situational awareness, asset inspection, and security patrol.
Several American agencies have lauded Skydio’s sub-model X2E after deploying it in the field. “We have been able to inspect bridges in completely new ways using the Skydio 2 and are excited to apply the Skydio X2E to our program needs,” Basil Yap, Director, UAS Program Manager, N.C. Department of Transportation said. He added the agency used the drone “to take advantage of the extended range, battery life and other advanced features that will help us achieve even higher levels of efficiency.”
“We are excited and honored to receive the CES 2021 Best of Innovation Award for the X2,” said Skydio CEO Adam Bry.
“This award is a testament to our forward-thinking vision for autonomous drones and to the incredible work of our engineering team. The X2 delivers groundbreaking intelligence and robustness that allows professional pilots to get the job done faster, more accurately and with greater peace of mind. Our goal is to make drones easier and safer to use than ever, while opening up entirely new use cases based on autonomous flight.”
In July, Skydio snagged $100 million in Series C funding as well as a $4 million investment from the U.S. Defense Department in what may be the largest funding round within the drone industry.