Skydio Dock featured image
Image courtesy: Skydio

Autonomous drone manufacturer Skydio has announced details of a new dock product. The company says that the Skydio Dock allows you to operate remote drone operations remotely.

What is the Skydio Dock?

Skydio Dock
Image courtesy: Skydio

The Skydio Dock is a remote base station for a Skydio drone. The drone is kept protected in the base station until you need it to fly and returns to the Dock once the flight is completed. You can fly the drones remotely, operating them from a central location. Alternatively, Skydio makes completely autonomous drones that can be programmed to automatically patrol and monitor set routes.

Skydio Dock hardware

The Skydio Dock is small and lightweight compared to competitors’ products. It takes up an area of only four square feet and weighs 62 pounds. However, it is still a heavy-duty product. The front is made from polycarbonate, and the main enclosure is industrial-grade aluminium.

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All-weather use

The Skydio Dock also has IP56 protection, which means it is effectively weatherproof. In addition, it has temperature regulation to ensure the drone and its battery are kept within optimal temperature ranges. The Dock even has a heated roof and door fixture to combat winter ice and snow.

Remote Ops software

Skydio Docks
Image courtesy: Skydio

The Skydio Dock has been designed alongside the company’s Remote Ops software — fully integrating the two. Skydio drones connect to the Skydio Cloud so that you can schedule flights, livestream and store media through a single resource. In addition, Autonomous Missions mean that your docked drone can perform standardized inspections and operations without needing a pilot. You can create, schedule and execute complex missions from a browser using the intuitive Mission Planner interface. You can also manually fly the drone or take control during an autonomous flight using the Teleop function.

Who is using these drones?

Remote and autonomous drones are used where there is a risk to humans, such as debris, radiation or other hazards. They can also be used to monitor several different locations from one central control base. For example, the North Carolina Department of Transportation uses drones to monitor large construction programs such as bridge building. The Southern Company utility company also uses remote drones to inspect power lines for problems. In addition, Caltrans uses autonomous drones to monitor over 50,000 miles of California’s highways that it manages.

What we think

Skydio’s remote drone operations are aimed more at business and industrial usage than the creative field at present. However, it is easy to see how wildlife documentary filmmakers could use automated drones to capture animal activities in remote locations. In addition, some of the technological advances developed by companies such as Skydio will undoubtedly filter down to improve all drone usage.

Pricing and availability

Skydio is now accepting inquiries for new early access partners interested in the Skydio Dock. Quantities are limited, and the company are going to evaluate submissions for operations they currently support.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.