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Skydio 2 drone returns to market as major update extends subject tracking range and more

Two major pieces of news in the drone world from Skydio today. First, the drone maker is officially announcing that Skydio 2 production has restarted since pausing for a few months during the COVID-19 shutdown. The super-smart Skydio 2 drone is once again available to order and shipping to customers.

The other announcement is the release of a significant software update for Skydio 2 drones. A new software update released today dramatically increases tracking range, flight features, and charging capabilities.

Skydio 2 can now track subjects from much further away, thanks to the latest software update to the intelligent drone system. Tracking range extends from 10 meters to 20 meters if you’re flying with just your iPhone or Android phone as the controller. The optional Skydio Beacon accessory quadruples tracking range to up to 40 meters away.

Speaking of Skydio Beacon, pilots can now use the Orbit flight mode when controlling Skydio 2 with the accessory.

Pilots can also now experience a smooth landing with Skydio 2 on its carrying case. The new software recognizes the Skydio logo to autonomously land safely. Landing on a desired target is also much easier now with a new nudging behavior that improves precise control when using software joysticks or the optional Controller accessory.

Finally, Skydio is upgrading the capabilities of its Dual Charger accessory with the ability to use its second USB-C port for power pass through. The double battery charger is powered with one USB-C port, and the second port can now be used to simultaneously charge other devices over USB-C.

DroneDJ is currently testing the Skydio 2 and accessories and will have much more hands-on experience to share in the coming weeks!

Full release notes for today’s Skydio 2 software update follow:

Extended tracking range

  • Our most popular feature request is here! We’ve worked hard on updating Skydio 2’s AI to be able to track you from further away for those awesome framing shots.

  • Maximum tracking range with the Skydio Beacon is increased from 10 to 40 meters.

  • Maximum tracking range with only  a phone is increased from 10 to 20 meters.

  • Long range tracking requires strong GPS signal

Beacon improvements

  • Orbit with Beacon

    • Orbit is now available on the Beacon.

    • Orbit can use GPS tracking for use at longer ranges.

    • You can change speed & direction of orbit from the Beacon by using Drag & Drop in the direction you want to Orbit.

  • Hover with Beacon

    • Hover now uses GPS to locate the subject even if it can’t see it.

    • Drag & Drop now works while in Hover to change Skydio 2’s position.

  • Beacon Subject Selection

    • When taking off from the ground with the Beacon, Skydio 2 will now hover in place. The Beacon holder may now stand in front of the camera and tap the Skydio button to begin subject tracking. This significantly improves Beacon tracking performance when starting from a ground launch.

    • This only affects ground takeoffs. When performing a hand launch with the Beacon, Skydio 2 will still automatically spin around and lock on the pilot as normal.

Improved landing

  • Case landing: Skydio 2 will now autonomously land on the case by recognizing the logo.

    • Pilot Skydio 2 over the case so that the camera can pan down and see the logo.

    • You’ll be able to see a yellow ring on the phone screen that indicates Skydio 2 sees the case and will land there.

    • If you do not see the yellow ring, Skydio 2 will not land on the case.

  • Nudging: While Skydio 2 is landing, you can nudge it sideways using phone joysticks or the Controller to move it into a better spot.

    • Skydio 2 now makes it more obvious when obstacle avoidance is disabled during landing by  changing LEDs from blue to yellow and an on-screen notification.

    • Do not try to hand catch the vehicle until the LEDs are yellow.

    • Piloting/nudging the vehicle during a case landing will cancel the case landing.

  • You can cancel landing by:

    • Pressing the STOP button on either the phone screen or the Beacon.

    • Commanding Skydio 2 to either ascend or descend.

    • Commanding throttle up via phone joysticks or the physical Controller at full stick

  • Throttling up at less than full stick will slow down landing speed, allowing you more time to maneuver.

Dual charger update

  • The Dual Charger has received a software update that pass power through to the 2nd USB-C port, allowing you to charge accessories (like the Beacon, Controller, or your Phone) at the same time you’re charging your batteries.

  • You can update the Dual Charger’s software by plugging it into your Skydio 2 while it’s powered on.

Other updates and improvements

  • Improved messaging on the phone when Skydio 2 can’t ascend above 30’ due to poor GPS signal. This can be fixed by moving the vehicle laterally until GPS heading lock is achieved.

  • Added a setting to allow Mode 1 and Mode 3 control options to the Skydio Controller.

  • Some camera settings (such as video resolution and framerate) are now locked while autonomously tracking a subject. Skydio 2 must be under manual control to change these settings.

  • Fixed a bug that was causing flight logs to be stored longer then they should on mobile devices, leading to the app taking up large amounts of space. Mobile devices will now only store flight logs for the last five most recent flights.

  • Fixed a bug that was preventing users from downloading media and clips while connected through the Controller.

  • The fastest interval photo setting when capturing in raw DNG has been increased to two seconds.  Users may still capture a photo every one second when capturing in JPG mode.

  • Updated Skydio 2’s landing shadow to only display when the vehicle is within 30’ of the ground.