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Skydio 2 Follow Me

VEGASROBBI

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After thousands of Follow Me flights with Anafi, Typhoon, Solo...... I'm looking forward to my Skydio 2. I reserved the first day so hopefully I'll be in the first batch.

While Anafi and the others(except DJI) do a decent job there is a lot of piloting going on. Following from the front in a Forrest environment is next to impossible for me, I think Skydio will open up new environments and offer safer autonomous flight. I haven't been this excited about a drone for some time and it's made in America:)
 

DoomMeister

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After thousands of Follow Me flights with Anafi, Typhoon, Solo...... I'm looking forward to my Skydio 2. I reserved the first day so hopefully I'll be in the first batch.

While Anafi and the others(except DJI) do a decent job there is a lot of piloting going on. Following from the front in a Forrest environment is next to impossible for me, I think Skydio will open up new environments and offer safer autonomous flight. I haven't been this excited about a drone for some time and it's made in America:)
It is good to see you here @VEGASROBBI!

I am anxiously waiting to see how the Skydio 2 compares to the FollowMe mode of the Typhoon H Pro. I know from the Yuneec forum that you have much more faith in the THP system over DJI’s solution.

Would love some real world comparison videos.
 

VEGASROBBI

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Thanks, my H is still serving me well after all these years. I use it for high speed follow in conjunction with the Anafi. Most of my filming is in the open desert but Skydio may change that.

The ability to fly through the trees rather than around them means I'm heading to the Forest.

I intend to do a comparison of follow drones when time permits, Skydio, Solo, H, Anafi, Halo, DJI......

This was my H and Anafi earlier in the week.

 
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VEGASROBBI

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So here is my first video with my S2. The first couple flights were a learning experience. I had to retrain myself from being a pilot and let the S2 do the flying. I learned to hand launch and catch quickly, I had to press "land" to turn off the OA so I could get my hand under it.

I did not like the app or flying with the tablet. I did notice you can't orbit with the Beacon; however you can mimic orbit with the Beacon by using the arrows. SD needs to add a reverse button when in the steering mode.

My SD2 had a trial by fire, I was at 7,000 feet, winds were 25+ mph with poor GPS and neither my S2 or Anafi could get a good GPS lock. I put my S2 out in the Forest and drove away, it got stuck in the trees and I was really amazed how it "thought" it's way out. I did not have too rescue it even though sometimes it took 30 seconds or longer to find it's way back too me. So the OA is by far the best I have seen and actually useful.

I guess everything is a trade off and having the excellent autonomous control means giving up manual piloting. With Solo, Anafi, Typhoon.... I'm use to piloting the drone while in Follow; it was strange to let my S2 do all the flying. The Beacon became a great tool especially after I got used to it; however, it does not allow full pilot control like Anafi with the controller or the Yuneec Wizard Wand. For example the + and - for distance only gave me three options and I felt close in was too close and medium was too far. I would like to have more resolution on distance. The app is OK but I find the tablet flight controls poor, it needs the two sticks like the Anafi app.

Maybe Skydio is aiming this at novice pilots and taking away pilot commands to keep it simple and allow the drone to do the work(which it does well) but I would like more pilot control. For the guy on a bike or surfboard that is totally hands off this is great, but it limits some of the shots I wanted to make. I will say the double press boomerang and the ease you can orbit is going to allow some cool shots. I'm really at the beginning stage of learning what the S2 can do. I'm sure after a few more flights it will be like second nature. One good thing is I trust the OA, it proved it can handle itself without me worrying about trees or other obstacles; that allows me to concentration the shot.

Even though I think there is plenty of room for improvement I am blown away with the ability of this thing. The camera quality is better than I thought and the file size reflected that. I hope they give us more freedom with the camera and SD card allowing us to control the camera rather than the auto modes. I purchased a 128 GB U3 SD Card for my SD and I hope the SD card doesn't control the drone, they seem to be married with minimal user control.

The SD2 is capable of good speed, maybe not Typhoon H speed but 30+ MPH. I noticed when doing Orbits it really hauls trying to get to the next position, I would like an easy way to control the speed and better resolution to the positioning. I'm sure updates are already in the works based on other users but the basics are there, really a game-changing drone IMO.

I can see why the DJI purists and AP guys would shy away from the SD2, not because the camera but because it simply does not have a refined user interface for precise control.

One last thing, the first time I took off it was from the ground. My SD2 took off and roamed around at a relatively high speed looking for a subject. It was all over the place and a bit concerning. Once you get moving it ID's the subject, direction, distance and all is good. Hand launching allows the SD2 to find the target quickly. I like the Wizard Wand where the H stays in one place until it sees GPS movement then aims at that position. One annoying thing with the SD 2 is when optical is lost it does not aim at the GPS position of the beacon, I lot a lot of footage because of this and had no manual control to correct it. I know a few other guys complained about this and I think SD can learn a lesson from Yuneec on this.

 

leenanj

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Good write up, I'm sure the software will get better over time with more features and functionality.
Hope it's sooner rather than later. 😊
 

skydioconvert

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So here is my first video with my S2. The first couple flights were a learning experience. I had to retrain myself from being a pilot and let the S2 do the flying. I learned to hand launch and catch quickly, I had to press "land" to turn off the OA so I could get my hand under it.

I did not like the app or flying with the tablet. I did notice you can't orbit with the Beacon; however you can mimic orbit with the Beacon by using the arrows. SD needs to add a reverse button when in the steering mode.

My SD2 had a trial by fire, I was at 7,000 feet, winds were 25+ mph with poor GPS and neither my S2 or Anafi could get a good GPS lock. I put my S2 out in the Forest and drove away, it got stuck in the trees and I was really amazed how it "thought" it's way out. I did not have too rescue it even though sometimes it took 30 seconds or longer to find it's way back too me. So the OA is by far the best I have seen and actually useful.

I guess everything is a trade off and having the excellent autonomous control means giving up manual piloting. With Solo, Anafi, Typhoon.... I'm use to piloting the drone while in Follow; it was strange to let my S2 do all the flying. The Beacon became a great tool especially after I got used to it; however, it does not allow full pilot control like Anafi with the controller or the Yuneec Wizard Wand. For example the + and - for distance only gave me three options and I felt close in was too close and medium was too far. I would like to have more resolution on distance. The app is OK but I find the tablet flight controls poor, it needs the two sticks like the Anafi app.

Maybe Skydio is aiming this at novice pilots and taking away pilot commands to keep it simple and allow the drone to do the work(which it does well) but I would like more pilot control. For the guy on a bike or surfboard that is totally hands off this is great, but it limits some of the shots I wanted to make. I will say the double press boomerang and the ease you can orbit is going to allow some cool shots. I'm really at the beginning stage of learning what the S2 can do. I'm sure after a few more flights it will be like second nature. One good thing is I trust the OA, it proved it can handle itself without me worrying about trees or other obstacles; that allows me to concentration the shot.

Even though I think there is plenty of room for improvement I am blown away with the ability of this thing. The camera quality is better than I thought and the file size reflected that. I hope they give us more freedom with the camera and SD card allowing us to control the camera rather than the auto modes. I purchased a 128 GB U3 SD Card for my SD and I hope the SD card doesn't control the drone, they seem to be married with minimal user control.

The SD2 is capable of good speed, maybe not Typhoon H speed but 30+ MPH. I noticed when doing Orbits it really hauls trying to get to the next position, I would like an easy way to control the speed and better resolution to the positioning. I'm sure updates are already in the works based on other users but the basics are there, really a game-changing drone IMO.

I can see why the DJI purists and AP guys would shy away from the SD2, not because the camera but because it simply does not have a refined user interface for precise control.

One last thing, the first time I took off it was from the ground. My SD2 took off and roamed around at a relatively high speed looking for a subject. It was all over the place and a bit concerning. Once you get moving it ID's the subject, direction, distance and all is good. Hand launching allows the SD2 to find the target quickly. I like the Wizard Wand where the H stays in one place until it sees GPS movement then aims at that position. One annoying thing with the SD 2 is when optical is lost it does not aim at the GPS position of the beacon, I lot a lot of footage because of this and had no manual control to correct it. I know a few other guys complained about this and I think SD can learn a lesson from Yuneec on this.

Thanks for some interesting information.

Think I read that at launching its recommended that you have the S2 camera facing you. That way it acquires you as a likely target much more quickly.

P.S. For what possible reason does someone try reach 7000 feet?? I don't agree with what the FAA is currently trying to do to our hobby but flying that high gives them all that much more reason to push through the terrible Remote ID regulations that they're proposing. If we don't start acting like responsible pilots we're all going to pay a heavy price.
 

GarthH

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Thanks for some interesting information.

Think I read that at launching its recommended that you have the S2 camera facing you. That way it acquires you as a likely target much more quickly.

P.S. For what possible reason does someone try reach 7000 feet?? I don't agree with what the FAA is currently trying to do to our hobby but flying that high gives them all that much more reason to push through the terrible Remote ID regulations that they're proposing. If we don't start acting like responsible pilots we're all going to pay a heavy price.
I think he meant that he was at 7000ft when he started filming with the SD2, not that he flew 7000ft up.
 

Ridefreak

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Nice video VR, the SD2 captures the jeep in that scenery nicely. Great first video with it also. I recently submitted some feedback to SD on what you described; the situation where the camera loses visual lock and points at the ground and the other being it tendency to work itself in close to the subject as the speeds go up. Funny you described the cam needing a GPS lock on the beacon's location, that's how I described it to them. The way I see it, for follow visual lock is essential for close in filming and is ok up to a point but as speed increases there should be more of a GPS based subject lock controlling the camera's aim, also an audible alert if the camera decides to randomly film rocks while the subject drives/rides off. I also suggested they increase the battery percentage character size. Kinda hard to take a fast glance a see what it says when you're doing something that demands all your attention.
 
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DoomMeister

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Thanks for some interesting information.

Think I read that at launching its recommended that you have the S2 camera facing you. That way it acquires you as a likely target much more quickly.

P.S. For what possible reason does someone try reach 7000 feet?? I don't agree with what the FAA is currently trying to do to our hobby but flying that high gives them all that much more reason to push through the terrible Remote ID regulations that they're proposing. If we don't start acting like responsible pilots we're all going to pay a heavy price.
Did you watch the video? He is in the mountains outside of Las Vegas. If the SD2 was at 7000’ AGL that is one heck of a zoom lens on the camera and one of the steadiest gimbal systems on the market.
 

parkgt

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Having the beacon track someone while pointing the camera somewhere else is makes no sense. What was Skydio thinking with that programing or lack thereof?
 

Lifeisfun

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Having the beacon track someone while pointing the camera somewhere else is makes no sense. What was Skydio thinking with that programing or lack thereof?
Easier said then done.
 

skydioconvert

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I think he meant that he was at 7000ft when he started filming with the SD2, not that he flew 7000ft up.
Yeh... I should have looked at the video before getting on a soap box. He wrote up a good description of what happened but I just drew the wrong conclusion by just reading his comments.
 
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Ridefreak

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Having the beacon track someone while pointing the camera somewhere else is makes no sense. What was Skydio thinking with that programing or lack thereof?
I doubt that was intended. This drone is getting allot of real world testing recently and things are cropping up that likely weren't considered significant or remained undetected during testing. These days with the pace of technology and the rush to release a product the public often becomes the real beta testers.
 
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Lifeisfun

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It seem like they are aiming to produce a drone that was "easier said then done". This omission in programming should be addressable.
These days most high tech product are pushed out the door in beta stage, you have to be patient or not to be on the bandwagon pre-ordering :)
 
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VEGASROBBI

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With about a dozen flights now I am forming opinions both good and some things that need attention IMO.

Without doubt the obstacle avoidance is a game changer. I put my S2 is some complex environments and it negotiated everything I could throw at it. I’m at a point where I put the S2 where I want it and drive. I had to retrain myself to “trust “ the drone hands off, especially at speed amongst the trees.

The camera is better than I thought, better than my MP and right there with my M2Z.

The S2 is capable of great follow shots even when flown by a novice. It could be capable of excellent follow shots with some needed updates. I found myself going back to Anafi to get some shots I couldn’t get with the S2.

Anafi not having AI or OA means I can put it exactly where I want it, same with my Typhoon( but I have to fly it). The S2 has preprogrammed distance, altitude and angles, and while this is useful many times I want to put the S2 where I want it and I can’t get it there. I am flying with the Beacon because I did not like the app and having the tablet and the Beacon is cumbersome during sports follow. To be fair Anafi needs to be flown with a controller and tablet to get it where I want, however the Typhoon wizard wand is standalone and can position my H exactly where I want without a controller or tablet.

As mentioned earlier the three follow distances are too restrictive, near is too close and medium is too far for my purpose. Second not being able to control the altitude really sucks when you’re going up and down elevations as I do. I know the app has control for altitude(and steering mode) but I do not think the beacon follow mode does. So what I find is my S2 ends up at a higher altitude than I want looking down at me rather than at me. And like Ridefreak mentioned if you’re following from the front at any speed it tends to crowd you and get on top of you and not get that shot from the front.

I now believe there is a software bug that points the S2 away from the subject. On several flights about 3/4 of the way in my S2 randomly aimed about 70° off of the target, or me. Even if I switched into steering mode and put it right in front of me with a good GPS lock it would still aim away from me once I started to move; I do not believe it is losing GPS or optical I think it is some sort of bug. If I rebooted the S2 it would then require me as the subject.

I would like the ability to turn the camera on and off.

Another observation, and guys I’m not beating up Skydio I write this in hopes they will read it and use it in future firmware updates. I believe Skydio can become a dominant force with some simple updates. I understand the obstacle avoidance cameras are critical however I found my S2 very sensitive to the sun even when it was high in the sky. Using Anafi as a reference it was able to follow me looking directly into the sun with the same GPS and optical that my Skydio had however my Skydio seemed to get confused and lose the subject were Anafi did not. I am able to fly Anafi a few feet off the ground at any angle, any distance that I wanted. I realize with the SD2 artificial intelligence I will not get that same freedom however I find the current set up to restrictive and does not allow me to place the SD to exactly where I want it.

I have been flying with my Typhoon H with the wizard wand now for several years and it is an excellent accessory. The wizard wand allows precision control in all axis pitch, roll and yaw as well as altitude control. And this is all available to you while in the follow mode so you can position the H exactly where you want it. In addition with the Typhoon H you can put the camera in a watch mode so it looks at the wand or a free mode that aims the camera wherever you like while it follows the subject. The beacon does not afford these features, not having altitude control or precision control of distance and angle is limiting in my opinion. I do believe future updates can enhance this greatly. My guess is Skydio has to balance how much control they allow the user versus how much they want the flight path to remain autonomous and safe. Guys like me will demand more control but novices require less control, maybe they can include different levels of safety and desensitize the artificial intelligence bubble.

I was impressed that with two batteries I gathered over a half hour of usable footage, even in the snow I think I got near 20 minute flight times. Most of the footage is usable except when the SD2 aims off target even though it continues to follow.

I’ll be posting videos soon and I must say that I have not been let down in any way by my SD2 I like it a lot and think it has great potential; it’s like the beginning of a new level of drone technology.
 

Ridefreak

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I'm pretty sure you can turn the camera off and on. In the app there's a setting for automatic filming. With that on any time it's in the air it's recording. With it off you have to tell it through the app to start and stop, red button at the bottom.
 
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skydioconvert

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With about a dozen flights now I am forming opinions both good and some things that need attention IMO.

Without doubt the obstacle avoidance is a game changer. I put my S2 is some complex environments and it negotiated everything I could throw at it. I’m at a point where I put the S2 where I want it and drive. I had to retrain myself to “trust “ the drone hands off, especially at speed amongst the trees.

The camera is better than I thought, better than my MP and right there with my M2Z.

The S2 is capable of great follow shots even when flown by a novice. It could be capable of excellent follow shots with some needed updates. I found myself going back to Anafi to get some shots I couldn’t get with the S2.

Anafi not having AI or OA means I can put it exactly where I want it, same with my Typhoon( but I have to fly it). The S2 has preprogrammed distance, altitude and angles, and while this is useful many times I want to put the S2 where I want it and I can’t get it there. I am flying with the Beacon because I did not like the app and having the tablet and the Beacon is cumbersome during sports follow. To be fair Anafi needs to be flown with a controller and tablet to get it where I want, however the Typhoon wizard wand is standalone and can position my H exactly where I want without a controller or tablet.

As mentioned earlier the three follow distances are too restrictive, near is too close and medium is too far for my purpose. Second not being able to control the altitude really sucks when you’re going up and down elevations as I do. I know the app has control for altitude(and steering mode) but I do not think the beacon follow mode does. So what I find is my S2 ends up at a higher altitude than I want looking down at me rather than at me. And like Ridefreak mentioned if you’re following from the front at any speed it tends to crowd you and get on top of you and not get that shot from the front.

I now believe there is a software bug that points the S2 away from the subject. On several flights about 3/4 of the way in my S2 randomly aimed about 70° off of the target, or me. Even if I switched into steering mode and put it right in front of me with a good GPS lock it would still aim away from me once I started to move; I do not believe it is losing GPS or optical I think it is some sort of bug. If I rebooted the S2 it would then require me as the subject.

I would like the ability to turn the camera on and off.

Another observation, and guys I’m not beating up Skydio I write this in hopes they will read it and use it in future firmware updates. I believe Skydio can become a dominant force with some simple updates. I understand the obstacle avoidance cameras are critical however I found my S2 very sensitive to the sun even when it was high in the sky. Using Anafi as a reference it was able to follow me looking directly into the sun with the same GPS and optical that my Skydio had however my Skydio seemed to get confused and lose the subject were Anafi did not. I am able to fly Anafi a few feet off the ground at any angle, any distance that I wanted. I realize with the SD2 artificial intelligence I will not get that same freedom however I find the current set up to restrictive and does not allow me to place the SD to exactly where I want it.

I have been flying with my Typhoon H with the wizard wand now for several years and it is an excellent accessory. The wizard wand allows precision control in all axis pitch, roll and yaw as well as altitude control. And this is all available to you while in the follow mode so you can position the H exactly where you want it. In addition with the Typhoon H you can put the camera in a watch mode so it looks at the wand or a free mode that aims the camera wherever you like while it follows the subject. The beacon does not afford these features, not having altitude control or precision control of distance and angle is limiting in my opinion. I do believe future updates can enhance this greatly. My guess is Skydio has to balance how much control they allow the user versus how much they want the flight path to remain autonomous and safe. Guys like me will demand more control but novices require less control, maybe they can include different levels of safety and desensitize the artificial intelligence bubble.

I was impressed that with two batteries I gathered over a half hour of usable footage, even in the snow I think I got near 20 minute flight times. Most of the footage is usable except when the SD2 aims off target even though it continues to follow.

I’ll be posting videos soon and I must say that I have not been let down in any way by my SD2 I like it a lot and think it has great potential; it’s like the beginning of a new level of drone technology.
Very nice write-up ... I think your right on with your comment in red above.

Not sure what Skydio can do to remain autonomous and also allow more user control.

Allowing more user control is only going to open up a huge can of worms not to mention forcing them away from their really unique warranty and replacement service.
 

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