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Skydio 2+ went for a swim

Gadgetdude

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Not a good day today. Still in bit of a shock. My Skydio 2+ is in a Florida lake tonight😭

This evening on way home from work I went to do some flying of the Skydio as I had not used it in a few weeks. I wanted to cycle the batteries. I got through one flight of about 20 minutes and put in the second battery. I decided to do a keyframe shot. I set up about 8 key frames in inbetween two of the frames was a lake. Not large, just about 50 yards by 100 yards. I started the key frame sequence and as it started over the water the drone all of a sudden started to get lower and lower over the water. I thought there is no way it is going to go to low because the key from path was at least 30 ft high over the water. But it just kept going lower until all of a sudden I see water come up into the camera and kerplunk it was gone. I was in total disbelief. I went to the side of the lake to see if I could see it but could not. The lake looks like it is only a few feet deep so I will go back tomorrow when I am better prepared to go wading.

I call Skydio and told them what happened and uploaded the flight log. The agent told me that if the water of the lake was calm and mirror like, it will throw the cameras off thinking the sky is the water. Luckily I purchased the care protection but I am really upset that the drone was flying keyframe auto mode. It was not my flying that made it crash into the water. I would hope and expect that this is a flaw of the Skydio and should be replaced without having to use my care protection. I will be the first to admit when something is my fault (I have been flying drones for 9 years). But this was not pilot error. It was a fault of the software.

I am hoping that I can at least find the drone tomorrow. It will be the difference of almost $400 If I have to pay for a replacement.

Be extremely careful flying over super calm water.
 
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Sky Cyclist

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Not a good day today. Still in bit of a shock. My Skydio 2+ is in a Florida lake tonight😭

This evening on way home from work I went to do some flying of the Skydio as I had not used it in a few weeks. I wanted to cycle the batteries. I got through one flight of about 20 minutes and put in the second battery. I decided to do a keyframe shot. I set up about 8 key frames in inbetween two of the frames was a lake. Not large, just about 50 yards by 100 yards. I started the key frame sequence and as it started over the water the drone all of a sudden started to get lower and lower over the water. I thought there is no way it is going to go to low because the key from path was at least 30 ft high over the water. But it just kept going lower until all of a sudden I see water come up into the camera and kerplunk it was gone. I was in total disbelief. I went to the side of the lake to see if I could see it but could not. The lake looks like it is only a few feet deep so I will go back tomorrow when I am better prepared to go wading.

I call Skydio and told them what happened and uploaded the flight log. The agent told me that if the water of the lake was calm and mirror like, it will throw the cameras off thinking the sky is the water. Luckily I purchased the care protection but I am really upset that the drone was flying keyframe auto mode. It was not my flying that made it crash into the water. I would hope and expect that this is a flaw of the Skydio and should be replaced without having to use my care protection. I will be the first to admit when something is my fault (I have been flying drones for 9 years). But this was not pilot error. It was a fault of the software.

I am hoping that I can at least find the drone tomorrow. It will be the difference of almost $400 If I have to pay for a replacement.

Be extremely careful flying over super calm water.

Thank you for sharing.

Although 30ft is quite low, you could stop the mission if you were aware of the situation.

It is not totally your fault. You just trust the ability of the drone too much but the Skydio's capability is just not so good.

Now, we know the Skydio is not able to keep the altitude as the keyframes were set. It's bad!
 

NEDroner

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Sorry you lost your skydio and hope they'll replace it for you.

I've been experimenting with keyframes and reading all the user experiences here. Keyframe repeatability and accuracy isn't great overall, and is worsened by:
1. Not having exactly the same take-off point and orientation.
2. Flying a route with less visual contrast. Especially when flying over water.
3. Flying a keyframe with start and end points that are far away from the launch.

For now, it's best to minimize these problems and -- regardless, will always have my thumb ready to cancel the keyframe sequence. In general, I'm learning that having a good visual on the skydio and a quick reflex on "cancel" is important whenever the Skydio is flying itself (although not always possible). Hope Skydio finds a way to make these more accurate and repeatable, but starting to get a better feel for the conditions that will work well...
 
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Ridefreak

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#2 isn't unique to key frames.
 

Eagly

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I re-read the info the OP posted regarding Skydio's response. I'm new to this but something struck me as odd. I get that a calm lake would reflect the sky, but doesn't the drone know what up and down is? Seems like a simple thing. :unsure:
 

Ridefreak

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I re-read the info the OP posted regarding Skydio's response. I'm new to this but something struck me as odd. I get that a calm lake would reflect the sky, but doesn't the drone know what up and down is? Seems like a simple thing. :unsure:
It's not about up and down, the drone can't estimate distances well when its visual information used for OA is being reflected back at itself, large plate class windows can cause the same thing. Read Skydio's warnings and it talks about flying around reflective surfaces.
 
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Eagly

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It's not about up and down, the drone can't estimate distances well when its visual information used for OA is being reflected back at itself, large plate class windows can cause the same thing. Read Skydio's warnings and it talks about flying around reflective surfaces.
I guess I interpreted the warnings about reflective surfaces are bad if you are flying into them. Like a very reflective building. That makes total sense. But it also states when flying over water make sure you have a GPS lock. So mentally I separated the two and would figure the gps lock and built in AI would prevent the drone from going down.

So does the OA trump all other flight data the drone has and when that gets confused all bets are off?

Still learning but love the drone. Been waiting g for a long time for tech like this.
 

Ridefreak

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I wish I could control when it relies on GPS, my flights would be better. It used to use GPS far more often now that seems secondary to visual tracking.
 

Sky Cyclist

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It's not about up and down, the drone can't estimate distances well when its visual information used for OA is being reflected back at itself, large plate class windows can cause the same thing. Read Skydio's warnings and it talks about flying around reflective surfaces.

I've read the Skydio's warnings doc carefully.


But, I don't know why it is not about up and down?

They are two different things:

1. KeyFrame
2. Obstacle Avoidance/Active Follow

For OA or AF, the reflective surface is not able be detected by the Skydio drone. It makes sense.

But, what happened to op is not caused from OA or AF but KeyFrame.

The op did keep 30ft from water when he set up the Keyframes!

If the keyframe can lock the flight altitude well, the drone will not fly into the water even the drone is flying over a very calm lake.

Blaming the reflective surface for all the problems is a poor excuse.
 

Ridefreak

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I don't know if keyframe had/has anything to do or if it's about up and down, I do know it's about reflections and you don't have to be in key frame to have that problem.

Here's an example of it from 2 years ago,
 
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paularity

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Nothing to do with reflective surfaces like the OP, but after ~400 over water flights and having only owned my upgraded S2+ for like 9 weeks this happened....


Grim to watch!

Pulled the last flight footage from the app - somewhere between locking on to the subject and repositioning the drone, the gimbal went absolutely nuts and the S2+ forced an emergency landing

Controller and app were completely unresponsive and I basically just had to watch it gradually descend into the ocean!

Thankfully it's a fault with the drone and not operator error, so a replacement is getting sorted

I screen recorded my iPhone in the moment to show the emergency landing situation too

Trying to find out what exactly went wrong still though
 

Ridefreak

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That is grim to watch, thanks for sharing it.
 

Gadgetdude

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From Skydio. Not happy to say the least. I think it is very unfortunate that the warranty is invalid in ‘Autonomy’ flight. Especially when that is how Skydio markets the drone, ‘Autonomous’?????????

Thanks for your patience during this process. After a thorough review of the flight data and video we are unable to warranty this incident as it falls outside our Safety & Operating Guide:



  • When the sun is low on the horizon, it can temporarily blind your Skydio drone’s cameras depending on the angle of flight. Your drone may be cautious or jerky when flying directly toward the sun. --Note: sunlight was reflecting off the water in this case
  • Do not fly over bodies of water more than 30 feet (9.1 meters) across if your Skydio drone indicates a GPS quality warning.



    Additional notes: Drone drifted low over reflective water (reflectivity can be seen in the footage right before water contact) during keyframe flight and then contacted water, skipped up, and lowered completely into the water. Autonomy flight collision is out of warranty.
 

kgilbertsen

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Nothing to do with reflective surfaces like the OP, but after ~400 over water flights and having only owned my upgraded S2+ for like 9 weeks this happened....


Grim to watch!
That is tough to watch. Glad Skydio's going to cover it.
 

Gadgetdude

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I don't know if keyframe had/has anything to do or if it's about up and down, I do know it's about reflections and you don't have to be in key frame to have that problem.

Here's an example of it from 2 years ago,
I also want to point out that Billy’s Skydio was replaced under warranty. As far as I am concerned I had the same situation. I had no control of the drone and it did this on its own. Just like Billy did in this video. So why then is my situation different?
 

Ridefreak

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I never said it was different, your crash sounds exactly like Billy's and is why I posted the link and why skydio warns against it. Yeah they replaced his and I hope they replace yours, I was just pointing out that it's a thing, has been since the drone came out and has nothing to do with keyframes.
 
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Gadgetdude

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I never said it was different, your crash sounds exactly like Billy's and is why I posted the link and why skydio warns against it. Yeah they replaced his and I hope they replace yours, I was just pointing out that it's a thing, has been since the drone came out and has nothing to do with keyframes.
Skydio is not replacing mine. See my post above that contains response from Skydio. Told me it was my fault flying over water. Another $550. Not happy.
 
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San91

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Thank you for sharing your case, it will be exteremely useful for the new members. Wish you all the best!
 

Ridefreak

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I've always felt that if you plan on flying over water insurance or a replacement plan is a wise move. The downside is too catastrophic and we've seen or heard of a few of these that dropped into the water. I've managed to crash the drone a number of times, we all know it can and does happen. I'm glad to hear you had something that kept you from having to pay a full replacement cost. Even though it doesn't seem so, you're ahead of game compared to many others without it. The SD2 doesn't see branches or power wires very well at low sun angles ether which is good to keep in mind. Reflective surfaces just adds another complexity to the problem. Personally I feel the GPS side of things with this drone isn't as good as it once was, you'd think the GPS would keep it at a safe alt but it doesn't always.
 

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