Skydio unveils an improved $1099 self-flying drone with new features.

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To ring in the new year, Skydio’s self-flying drone is getting a line of new software, hardware, and service improvements.

The drone business located in the Bay Area is updating their flagship drone with a number of usability-focused features and a large software upgrade aimed at giving consumers more control without forcing them to take physical control of the drone. The team is also releasing Skydio Care, a new service plan meant to provide drone owners with a protection package that supplements their existing warranty while allowing for quick repair of accidently damaged drones.

Skydio has been in an intriguing situation as a young American drone startup with both consumer and enterprise clients for several years. The business has attracted more than $340 million from leading venture capitalists on the promise of bringing drones to the masses using AI-assisted controls that make user onboarding easier.

Its most recent product, the Skydio 2+, is an improved version of its Skydio 2 drone that attempts to serve both customers. Thanks to a 5Ghz Wifi radio and two pop-up antennas, the maximum range has been raised from 3.5 km to 6 km, which is a significant improvement. The 2+ also has a higher-density battery pack, which extends the maximum flight time by a few minutes to 27 minutes.

The highlight of this drone, as has always been the case, is its computer vision-aided intelligence, which allows it to drive itself using a number of onboard cameras. With the release of KeyFrame, a new software feature for both the Skydio 2+ and the original Skydio 2, the firm is increasing its aspirations.

The AI-powered function enables for more cinematic shooting by allowing users to define individual shots through the device’s app, but then letting the Skydio drone handle the hassle of travelling between those pictures while making a sweeping film that captures all of the important points of interest.

The software capability is one of the most powerful yet to be added to the device, and it could assist enterprise clients onboard who are still hesitant to experiment with self-flying drones software. Skydio is attempting to lure the squeamish with a new service plan dubbed Skydio Plus, which includes flat-rate accidental damage repair for the device. Users will be able to purchase one-year or two-year support plans for $149 and $249, respectively, which will allow them to replace broken or lost drones at a fixed cost. Subscribers will pay only $150 for the initial replacement of a damaged drone, but a lost drone would cost $550 to repair under the extended warranty plan.

The Skydio 2+ is now available for pre-order, with prices ranging from $1,099 for a basic bundle to $2,169 for a Pro Kit.

Richard Percy
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