Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Skydio R1. Autonomous Drone With Advanced Obstacle Avoidance System

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system
Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

*Octo­ber 1, 2019, Sky­dio intro­duced its new smart prod­uct for real­iz­ing action shoot­ing from the air. Learn more about Sky­dio 2 in our review.

About the developer

Sky­dio R1 is the result of long and painstak­ing work, a team that includes grad­u­ates from the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy in the field of avi­a­tion and robot­ics, as well as world experts in the field of AI (Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence) and robot­ics, who man­aged to estab­lish them­selves in such large com­pa­nies as Google, Apple, Tes­la and Ocu­lus.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

  • Sky­dio was found­ed by Adam Bry, Abe Bachrach, and Matt Don­a­hoe.
  • The com­pa­ny is sup­port­ed by such investors as: a16z, Accel, IVP, Play­ground, NVIDIA, Kevin Durant, Naval Ravikant, Elad Gil, Pad­ma War­rior, Justin Tim­ber­lake, Mag­ic John­son.

Obstacle Avoidance

Before the advent of the R1 drone, the most prac­ti­cal obsta­cle avoid­ance sys­tem was equipped with UAVs from DJI Inno­va­tions and Yuneec. More recent­ly, DJI has raised the bar in this direc­tion with Fligh­tAu­ton­o­my 2.0, a sys­tem first imple­ment­ed on the Mav­ic Air quad­copter. It would seem, what could be bet­ter than what we already have? Sky­dio devel­op­ers answered this ques­tion reveal­ing­ly, pre­sent­ing their advanced obsta­cle avoid­ance tech­nol­o­gy called the Sky­dio Auton­o­my Engine.

Skydio Autonomy Engine

Sky­dio R1 takes obsta­cle avoid­ance to a whole new lev­el. The R1 uses 12 cam­eras built into the drone’s frame to cre­ate a 3D map of the world around it that includes trees, peo­ple, build­ings and more. For oper­a­tional real-time pro­cess­ing of incom­ing visu­al infor­ma­tion, the top full-fea­tured com­put­ing plat­form for arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence was used — Nvidia Jet­son TX1, built on a 256-core graph­ics proces­sor, the one used in mod­ern cars with autopi­lot.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

How it works?

The first step in autonomous flight is to get the drone to under­stand where it is in the envi­ron­ment and how it is mov­ing. This is made pos­si­ble by the 3D ren­der­ing, which uses high­ly tex­tured areas as mark­ers. Thanks to tri­an­gu­la­tion, it becomes pos­si­ble to cal­cu­late the posi­tion of the drone.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

*com­put­er vision R1

The next step in pro­cess­ing is to cre­ate a 3D under­stand­ing of the world around the drone. To do this, Sky­dio R1 cal­cu­lates the depth of the stereo image com­ing from each pair of cam­eras, which are then com­bined to cre­ate a dense three-dimen­sion­al under­stand­ing of the sur­round­ing world.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Accord­ing to co-founder Adam Bry, the drone uses a com­bi­na­tion of deep neur­al net­works to rec­og­nize the peo­ple around it. The drone knows what peo­ple look like and cre­ates a visu­al iden­ti­fi­er for each per­son indi­vid­u­al­ly so that they can lat­er focus on the cor­rect object.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

The drone move­ment plan­ning sys­tem turns all the received infor­ma­tion about the envi­ron­ment into cor­rect behav­ior, thus allow­ing you to avoid obsta­cles in a bal­anced way, keep­ing the object in the frame, cap­tur­ing amaz­ing­ly smooth video, as well as pre­dict the move­ment of the drone (up to 4 sec­onds ahead) based on the move­ment of the object, for which are being fol­lowed.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

*Top image: R1 com­put­er vision in pre­dic­tive mode. Bot­tom image: nor­mal cam­era view.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Adam Bry not­ed that, despite the intel­li­gence of the drone, there are still sit­u­a­tions where the drone can run into dif­fi­cul­ties. For exam­ple, thin wires or branch­es can be dif­fi­cult to see, glass sur­faces or crowds of peo­ple can also con­fuse the drone. If R1 can­not under­stand what to do next, he will imme­di­ate­ly report this through the smart­phone that con­trols it.

Equipment

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Specification

Drone

Brand:

sky­dio

Model:

R1

Dimensions:

33.02×40.64×2.54cm

The weight:

998grams

Flight time:

16min (two bat­ter­ies includ­ed)

Max.speed:

40km/h

Camera

Video modes:

4K at 30 fps; 1080p at 30.60fps;

FOV:

150°

Memory:

64GB built-in (1.5 hours for 4K and 4.5 hours for 1080p at 30fps)

Stabilization:

2‑axis mechan­i­cal (1 axis flight con­trol)

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

A computer

GPU:

256-core Nvidia Jet­son GPU

CPU:

4‑core 64-bit ARM proces­sor

RAM:

4GB

Sensors

Navigation:

12 cam­eras for omni­di­rec­tion­al vision

Shooting:

1 cam­era for cus­tom shoot­ing

IMU:

four

FPV

Video link resolution:

720p@15fps

WiFi Removal Distance:

90 meters (depend­ing on smart­phone)

Follow modes

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Sky­dio R1 has 5 smart fol­low modes:

Follow

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

lead

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

side

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Orbit

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

tripod

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Camera

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Sky­dio R1 received a 4K cam­era (4k at 30fps; 1080p at 30.60fps; FOV 150°) sus­pend­ed on a 2‑axis mechan­i­cal gim­bal.

Flight time

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Accord­ing to the spec­i­fi­ca­tion, the flight time is 16 min­utes. By default, two bat­ter­ies are includ­ed in the kit.

Execution materials

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

The R1 is made from aero­space-grade mate­ri­als includ­ing light­weight alu­minum and car­bon fiber.

Control

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Full con­trol over the drone can be real­ized through a smart­phone through the Sky­dio appli­ca­tion. For Apple Watch own­ers, the abil­i­ty to issue com­mands to the R1 direct­ly from the smart­watch is avail­able, there­by elim­i­nat­ing the need to take out the smart­phone every time.

Price

The pro­duc­tion and sale of the mod­el has been dis­con­tin­ued. On Octo­ber 1, 2019, Sky­dio intro­duced their new smart prod­uct for real­iz­ing action shoot­ing from the air — Sky­dio 2.

A photo

Pho­to with Sky­dio R1 drone.

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Skydio R1. Autonomous drone with advanced obstacle avoidance system

Video

Video with Sky­dio R1 drone.

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