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Is Skydio's S2 really a consumer drone?

Bill McNeil

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I ordered an S2 the day it was released, October 1st, 2019, and received it on December 21st, 2019. I then ordered a second one on December 24th, 2019. All correspondence indicated I wouldn't receive it until November 2020. I realize the virus impacted production but it's hard to believe a company that received $100M venture money couldn't ramp up production.

After exchanging a number of emails with support, over the last several days, I was informed I wasn't eligible to purchase a second drone because I already had one. There was hope however, Skydio would consider selling me a second drone if I could convince them that I had a compelling commercial application. So let's see it takes months to get an S2 and you can only purchase another one if you have an enterprise application. This doesn't sound much like a consumer product and it certainly is not going to dislodge or even threaten DJI's dominance in the consumer marketplace.

Skydio is using the S2 as a lost leader and a vehicle to drive business to the X2 and their enterprise applications. This is a smart move because the X2 and enterprise solutions are far more profitable than supporting tens of thousands of $1000 UAVs. The timing is also perfect for Skydio now that the government is limiting the use of most foreign developed drones for US government work.
 
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skydioconvert

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I ordered an S2 the day it was released, October 1st, 2019, and received it on December 21st, 2019. I then ordered a second one on December 24th, 2019. All correspondence indicated I wouldn't receive it until November 2020. I realize the virus impacted production but it's hard to believe a company that received $100M venture money couldn't ramp up production.

After exchanging a number of emails with support, over the last several days, I was informed I wasn't eligible to purchase a second drone because I already had one. There was hope however, Skydio would consider selling me a second drone if I could convince them that I had a compelling commercial application. So let's see it takes months to get an S2 and you can only purchase another one if you have an enterprise application. This doesn't sound much like a consumer product and it certainly is not going to dislodge or even threaten DJI's dominance in the consumer marketplace.

Skydio is using the S2 as a lost leader and a vehicle to drive business to the X2 and their enterprise applications. This is a smart move because the X2 and enterprise solutions are far more profitable than supporting tens of thousands of $1000 UAVs. The timing is also perfect for Skydio now that the government is limiting the use of most foreign developed drones for US government work.
That is definitely "not" good news for most of us in this forum.
 

dirkclod

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Welcome to the forum. 👍
 

Portolo

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Skydio is using the S2 as a lost leader and a vehicle to drive business to the X2 and their enterprise applications.
Agree.

Strongly suspect S2 will be their last consumer product. The firm's future is clearly enterprise and government.
 
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Bill McNeil

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Skydio has secured about $170 in venture funding. Unfortunately for us, it makes much more sense for them to focus on the government and commercial markets rather than fight DJI in the consumer market place.
 

Ridefreak

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When DJI decides OA is important enough to seriously try and tackle which will be a major redesign for them then they might be competing, right now SDs are selling as fast as they can build them, DJI has been lowering prices, SD has been raising them. The fact that they now make a commercial drone doesn't mean they are ditching the consumer market, not sure where that came from. It doesn't make sense with the demand they are seeing. If they quit the consumer business I suspect it will be because of the new drone regulations more than anything. If that comes to pass the retail drone industry is going to tank anyway and SD won't be the only one.
 
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skydioconvert

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Whether Skydio intends to be a player in the future "recreational" drone market or not could very well be telegraphed by whether or not they pass down X2 capabilities to the S2.

Personally.... for all the reasons already mentioned many times before, my dollars will continue to go into the Skydio coffers not into the DJI coffers.
 

UNIXman

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I have both the S2 and a "few" DJI drones. I believe in using "the right tool for the job." So if I want to see something several kM distant, I'll grab a DJI drone. Likewise, if I want to get a video of myself tearing up the countryside on my mountain bike, I'll task that to the S2. I sure hope Skydio continues to make consumer drones. As this plays out over the next few years, I might have to consider purchasing one of their future commercial drones. But then, I'm almost 77 years old, so the question might be out of my hands.
 
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skydioconvert

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I have both the S2 and a "few" DJI drones. I believe in using "the right tool for the job." So if I want to see something several kM distant, I'll grab a DJI drone. Likewise, if I want to get a video of myself tearing up the countryside on my mountain bike, I'll task that to the S2. I sure hope Skydio continues to make consumer drones. As this plays out over the next few years, I might have to consider purchasing one of their future commercial drones. But then, I'm almost 77 years old, so the question might be out of my hands.
Your approach tracks closely to how I'm thinking.

My only "other" significant drone (Mavic 2) can handle distant photography quite well but since getting the S2 the M2 hasn't seen much use. I'm not into flying BVLOS so the M2 is probably going to continue to accumulate dust.

Just really enjoy how well the S2 takes away the always present danger of colliding with obstacles.

Not having to have situational awareness 100% of the time is a godsend.
 
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widronezone

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I ordered an S2 the day it was released, October 1st, 2019, and received it on December 21st, 2019. I then ordered a second one on December 24th, 2019. All correspondence indicated I wouldn't receive it until November 2020. I realize the virus impacted production but it's hard to believe a company that received $100M venture money couldn't ramp up production.

After exchanging a number of emails with support, over the last several days, I was informed I wasn't eligible to purchase a second drone because I already had one. There was hope however, Skydio would consider selling me a second drone if I could convince them that I had a compelling commercial application. So let's see it takes months to get an S2 and you can only purchase another one if you have an enterprise application. This doesn't sound much like a consumer product and it certainly is not going to dislodge or even threaten DJI's dominance in the consumer marketplace.

Skydio is using the S2 as a lost leader and a vehicle to drive business to the X2 and their enterprise applications. This is a smart move because the X2 and enterprise solutions are far more profitable than supporting tens of thousands of $1000 UAVs. The timing is also perfect for Skydio now that the government is limiting the use of most foreign developed drones for US government work.
Skydio is a military contractor and it's profitable to be one. Look at their recent hires - they all have links to the armed forces. Let's not forget they're still a startup, function like one, can't keep up with demand, and their German investors want quick ROI. The S2 is actually sold to enterprise as well along with their $1.5k/yr enterprise skills software.

They claim to be a software company and their business model follows that of a SaaS product. Recurring revenue, subscription based, and ideally long term contracts with large organizations & armed forces. They're also expanding in Japan - having hired a team there as well.

You're right, it's very clear that consumers are not their priority - that is clear in your experience, mine, others, and their messaging on their website.

It would have been smart for them to start a new vertical for the enterprise/military - and keep the consumer side separate - and that could happen in the future when they mature as a company. What they're doing is quite impressive for a company founded in 2014 by researchers - that's a great success story in every way you look at it.

Luckily for the consumer, there is growing competition in the consumer UAS space. Autel & DJI are right up their heels & DJI has enough resources to quickly catch up. Although, Skydio's focus is similar to that of GoPro - Action Sports exclusively - whereas DJI & Autel are jack of all trades, master of none.
 

Bill McNeil

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Skydio is a military contractor and it's profitable to be one. Look at their recent hires - they all have links to the armed forces. Let's not forget they're still a startup, function like one, can't keep up with demand, and their German investors want quick ROI. The S2 is actually sold to enterprise as well along with their $1.5k/yr enterprise skills software.

They claim to be a software company and their business model follows that of a SaaS product. Recurring revenue, subscription based, and ideally long term contracts with large organizations & armed forces. They're also expanding in Japan - having hired a team there as well.

You're right, it's very clear that consumers are not their priority - that is clear in your experience, mine, others, and their messaging on their website.

It would have been smart for them to start a new vertical for the enterprise/military - and keep the consumer side separate - and that could happen in the future when they mature as a company. What they're doing is quite impressive for a company founded in 2014 by researchers - that's a great success story in every way you look at it.

Luckily for the consumer, there is growing competition in the consumer UAS space. Autel & DJI are right up their heels & DJI has enough resources to quickly catch up. Although, Skydio's focus is similar to that of GoPro - Action Sports exclusively - whereas DJI & Autel are jack of all trades, master of none.
A simple solution would be to release the SDK to approved or qualified third-party developers like Litchi.
 

skydioconvert

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Doubt that will happen .... being more and more in bed with the US military probably comes at a price.

Would not be surprised that the T&C's with their government contracts don't specifically prohibit release any part of their software.
 

onlysublime

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It's a stretch to think that not being able to buy multiple Skydio 2 machines means it's not a consumer device and that they're leaving the consumer market.

At this time supply is very constrained and if you're trying to buy multiple, you're going to make very mad customers.

This is happening across many industries. We bought rollerskates from Moxie in April and didn't receive them until November! Their backlog at their factories was so high.

For Xbox and Playstation consoles, you have scalpers using bots to buy up the entire supply chain. I couldn't get a second console if I wanted to.
 
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skydioconvert

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Not sure what point(s) your making but I didn't mean to imply that its probable that Skydio may be leaving the consumer product.

If they were smart they'd find a way to allow their recreational drones to evolve separately from their enterprise line while also allowing the former to benefit from the latter.
 

Paladin45

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I ordered an S2 the day it was released, October 1st, 2019, and received it on December 21st, 2019. I then ordered a second one on December 24th, 2019. All correspondence indicated I wouldn't receive it until November 2020. I realize the virus impacted production but it's hard to believe a company that received $100M venture money couldn't ramp up production.

After exchanging a number of emails with support, over the last several days, I was informed I wasn't eligible to purchase a second drone because I already had one. There was hope however, Skydio would consider selling me a second drone if I could convince them that I had a compelling commercial application. So let's see it takes months to get an S2 and you can only purchase another one if you have an enterprise application. This doesn't sound much like a consumer product and it certainly is not going to dislodge or even threaten DJI's dominance in the consumer marketplace.

Skydio is using the S2 as a lost leader and a vehicle to drive business to the X2 and their enterprise applications. This is a smart move because the X2 and enterprise solutions are far more profitable than supporting tens of thousands of $1000 UAVs. The timing is also perfect for Skydio now that the government is limiting the use of most foreign developed drones for US government work.

There's a whole supply chain at work, not just one company. I'm still waiting for something I ordered in March, and for other items I would have ordered but which haven't been available at all.
When DJI decides OA is important enough to seriously try and tackle which will be a major redesign for them then they might be competing, right now SDs are selling as fast as they can build them, DJI has been lowering prices, SD has been raising them. The fact that they now make a commercial drone doesn't mean they are ditching the consumer market, not sure where that came from. It doesn't make sense with the demand they are seeing. If they quit the consumer business I suspect it will be because of the new drone regulations more than anything. If that comes to pass the retail drone industry is going to tank anyway and SD won't be the only one.

Skydio use some of the tech NVIDIA develop for their autonomous driving program. DJI's access to this tech probably is a bigger factor than any mechanical redesign.
 

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