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).