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Skydio 2 - Gone Fishing!!

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Hi and cheers from Italy.
One week ago, my recently repaired Skydio 2 went into a canal.

I managed to retrieve it in 10-15 minutes.

Now the drone is damaged: motors seized because of sand ingress and it doesn't power up correctly.

It's my opinion that the plunge in the water has been caused by Skydio 2's AI piloting choices. Or, I asked too much from it..... but it handled similar conditions before with flying colours ( no pun intended).

Of course I contacted Skydio Support and got back the usual " this is outside of the gudelines...blah blah... not covered by warranty blah blah... 850$ if it needs a full repair blah blah...."

I issued them a longish e-mail a couple of days ago, clearly stating what happened, affirming that if this is the normal behaviour of Skydio2 it will not meet my expectations and needs for my type of use ( tracking me on my road bike and MTB without getting itself into trouble), but so far no answer .

I'm fully aware that the difficulties in getting it repaired are heavily compounded by the fact that i'm in Italy.

I don't want to get right now into much detail about what happened.: If nothing comes back from Skydio Support in a few days, I will acknowledge that Skydio2 is not working for me, and I will post here the full e-mail I sent to them ( with the story of what happened). Needless to say that I will then sell my Skydio2 accessories.

Alberto.
 

Ridefreak

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I was able to get past sand in the motors with compressed air, mine crashed in the sand and 2 of the motors wouldn't turn, gently working it back and forth while blowing into the motor from an air hose freed them up. There's a good chance it shorted something during the bath but if it was me I'd set it out somewhere to dry out and see if you can bring it back to life. I was able to get 2 computers running that went under water in Katrina, they didn't last long since it was salt water but I got the data off them.
 
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frankbonatelli

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I'll second everything stated. Even if it rains unprodictablely around here, I will shelves the drone in powered to dry out before a second flight. As for an email reply. It seems to run into the three week range for responses so maybe give them the month before pulling the trigger on things. I'm sure with polite conversation they will come through with something for you.
 
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Ok, after exchanging some emails with Skydio Support, here are the conclusions:
Fisrt and foremost, following here you will find the content of the email I sent to Skydio regarding the aforementioned crash:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Now let me give you my view on the subject, please bear with me:

I bought the Skydio2 90% for filming myself on my road bike or MTB.

It's the second time that I have a Skydio fail. First one ( Request #XXXX) it had a close encounter with some power lines, Severe mechanical damage to the magnesium chassis, broken gimbal and so on. Although the Main Logic Board seemed OK ( since the Skydio2 was connecting to the app), Skydio quoted me the full repair bill ( 850 US$); ok, my bad, i was aware aboout the power lines caveat and eager to have it back. At least, Skydio allowed me to order a new Starter Set instead of paying fo the repair, thus getting me another battery and case. I had to leave you the totaled Skydio, but alas..

After receiving the new Starter kit, I flew 5 times, tracking myself on feet and on bike with the App and with Beacon + App, to try and check that everything was OK.

On July the 2nd, I flew four times in that day, following me on my MTB, piloting with Beacon + app.

The first flight was in conditions that were exactly the same as the last one ( in which it crashed): a gravel road flanked by trees, here and there under a canopy of branches with leaves.

Skydio2 handled it with class, never getting into trouble: when it felt like no way was possible under the branches, it stopped in its tracks until I backtracked and piloted it out and away from the trees. It then sped up to catch with me.

So I felt confident it could handle such situations with a reasonable degree of safety for itself.

Two flights and cleaning cameras later, I got it into roughly the same conditions: gravel road, trees left and right. Only this time roughly 30 ft. to the left of the trail there was a canal. Of course I set Skydio2 to follow me from behind, and I also disabled the ceiling to give it some more leeway to sneak under the branches, should the need arise. It started to follow me, hesitating here and there, then figuring out which path to follow to reach me. Then, just before a couple of overhanging branches, it suddenly rose way up and swerved to the left almost over the canal. It managed to sneak itself between the branches, and stopped . It then lost lock on me, so I started to backtrack to find it. I didn't even had the time to put it in manual, just heard a propeller hit something, motors revving up to try and straight itself up, another hit , then, the sound of something hitting water.

I managed to retrieve it after, say, ten minutes in the water, disconnected battery, and got home.

Left it outside to dry, then assessed the damage.

Structurally it was OK, no damages. But the motors were seized, full of sand, and some sand was also pouring out of the chassis through the gimbal front aperture.

I tried to extract as much sand as possible, but the motors never turned free anymore. Also, powering it up, it somehow managed to pass some of the test, then stopped with front blue LEDs blinking alternatively, and never got visible anymore on wifi.

Also, I tried to connect the power supply, to see if at least it would allow me to charge a bit the batteries that I’ve got, and it didn’t charge at all.

So, i have two choices: given that you are stating that Skydio2 was operating as expected and designed, acknowledge that the cause of the crash was my piloting, and Skydio2 isn't to blame at all. Have the drone repaired ( for sure a full 850$ bill, since I feel that this time the MLB is toast) , be happy with it, and try and learn better how to fly safely a Skydio2. Maybe limit it’s operations in WIDE OPEN FIELD…

OR, I could think that Skydio's AI isn't up to par with the expectations people I had on it, despite all the marketing Skydio is putting out about "the New era of Autonomous Inspection".

In my opinion, Skydio 2 had decided by itself to fly higher from the ground, instead of staying at that level, and to veer on the left. It then put itself in a position in which it was surrounded by branches ( so long for the 1mt free space "bubble"), and then hit something. BTW, All the branches around were heavily loaded with leaves ( it's full-on summer here in Italy): I can provide you the videos of all the flights of that day, should you fell it useful. Also, i feel that if it weren't for the Skydio2 decision to fly over the canal, and should it have fallen on the ground , it would have survived way better, maybe unscathed, given the thick and soft undergrowth mattress under the trees on the left of the gravel road.

What can Skydio do to make me NOT believe that i can't trust anymore Skydio2 for my type of use, following me on my bike, without getting itself into some situation where all it can do is commit suicide?

Maybe this technology isn't ready yet for what I expect from it? Should I buy another brand of drone, cheaper and easier to buy and repair, and be happy with it's shortcomings, since maybe in practice they aren't so vastly different from Skydio2 shortcomings?
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I think that this was a rather polite email.

Skydio Support answer was that they would consider this entirely my fault, and they wouldn't budge from the standard protocol of assessing the damage, then quoting me the repair, with a deductible repair fee of 150 US$ should I decide NOT to repair the drone.
Only this time they would ask me to pay the fee in advance, even before me sending the drone for repair!

Only other choice, is to buy a new starter kit... at which price, I don't know yet.

This of course lent me to consider trying to have the drone back up by myself. I totally disassembled it, down to the bare motors and PCBs ( except for the MLB).
 
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I was able to get past sand in the motors with compressed air, mine crashed in the sand and 2 of the motors wouldn't turn, gently working it back and forth while blowing into the motor from an air hose freed them up. T
Many thanks to Ridefreak: I succeded into having the motors spin again after a few hours of blowing through them with compressed air.

After clenaang all the rest with compressed air and Isopropylic alcohol, the electronic boards didn't show any damage. Even if they did, I wouldn't have the know how to repair them, so....
I dutifully reassembled everything.

The drone now can charge the batteries. What it doesn't do is passing the boot test: the LEDs slowly pulse for a while, then they start blinking alternately right and left. Furthermore, it never advertises it's wifi to my phone.
I tried the seven-times-powerup trick, so far to no avail ( both using the batteries and using the USB-C charger).
 
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So I decided to limit my future course of action to:
1) I give up with Skydio, sell my accessories ( three batteries, beacon, three beacon holders for bike handlebar, two USB-C chargers with cable, one case + one modified case) and consider my brief stint with Skydio over. Buy another drone and be prepared to deal with it's shortcomings
2) OR - try and deal with Skydio to buy another Starter Kit, maybe at a discount.
Keep in mind that shipping the totaled drone from Italy to Skydio USA would cost me more or less 130 US$

What would you do?
Maybe someone has resolved the alternating blinking led pattern with another method?

Alberto.
 
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I decided not to repair the drone, nor to buy another set.

Right now it's too rich for my blood.

Maybe in the future.....
 

stallion

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I got my second drone after the first one crashed and shattered after hitting a tree, but at this point, I am so skittish to take out the drone, I think I'll only fly it if I am on flat land with absolutely no obstacles.
The best way for get Skydio's obstacle avoidance to work flawlessly is to make sure as a pilot that there are none in its potential and arbitrary flight path.
 
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I got my second drone after the first one crashed and shattered after hitting a tree, but at this point, I am so skittish to take out the drone, I think I'll only fly it if I am on flat land with absolutely no obstacles.
Exactly my feelings on the subject.
That's why I was disappointed about Skydio OA.
If I have to oversee my autonomous drone's behaviour, it means that I can't concentrate on doing the doing but I have to mind about the flying. At this point, I feel there are better choices: almost as effective, cheaper to buy and ( eventually) repair.
Don't let me be misunderstood, I still believe that Skydio 2 is a marvellously engineered piece of gear, and I'm utmostly upset for not being able to use it.... still, it doesn't tick all the boxes for me.. Sad to have to let it go.
 

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