This drone does what DJI can’t

This drone does what DJI can’t

(upbeat music) – [Sean] The Skydio 2 is
not your typical drone. This drone flies itself and
is practically crash-proof. It can follow you down a trail
automatically dodging trees because it’s always mapping out the world with six fish-eye cams. The company says that three
year olds can fly this drone, and it’s kinda true. – I flew it away. It went away. Gone. I did it. – But you’re not gonna
be buying this $999 drone for your three year old,
who isn’t actually four. Instead of diving into every
single feature of this drone, we’re gonna do things a
little bit differently. We’re testing with three
different people who wanna use drones in ways they’ve been
afraid to use them before. First there’s Felicia. She’s a novice who’s never
flown a drone in her life. I’ll go second. I’m more of a drone hobbyist
and I’ve always wanted a flying camera that
could follow me around. Lastly, there’s Vjeran. He’s a pro who’s rarely seen
without a drone on his back. – Right out the gate, I
had some choices to make. There’s a bunch of different
ways to fly this drone. With your phone, a beacon,
a phone-beacon combo or the new Skydio controller. Set-up took longer than i expected, there’s a lot of syncing involved. I flew it with the controller
for the first time. It took me a second to
get the controls right, so what ended up happening is
it went over a bunch of people and they started panicking,
and I started panicking, and I feel better with it now, I just, I was, it was not fun. I was so nervous, really nervous. But I spent another 10 minutes
or so with the controller and was able to get some
nice footage like this. I flew the drone over a broken pier to get closer to the boats, until
I was attacked by seagulls. – [Sean] You want me to take over? – Yes, please. I panicked the seagulls freaked me out. And then we came over
here to use the wand. Which I was convinced was gonna
be way easier but actually I found to be a little
more stressful because I didn’t feel like I had as
much control over the drone when people and water and things happened, I didn’t feel confident
that I could fix it, so I actually found that
the wand was easier to use but a little bit more stressful overall. For my first few flights, I
wanted to see if you can fly the Skydio 2 with little
to no instruction, which I did but I had a feeling the drone can do a lot more and it can. There are a number of
built in modes like dronies and cinematic tracking shots. It’s honestly not that intuitive. All the automated
features hide behind menus but once you figure out how to use them, you can do some pretty cool things. I liked controlling the
drone with the phone versus either of the optional controllers. Once I had more time in
the air I definitely felt more comfortable flying it
and even started having fun. I trusted the drone enough
to take it off and land it on my hands and never felt like
I was gonna crash the thing. My only wish is that the
Skydio 2 had a panic button that would bring the
drone back to me safely away from people for
those moments when I felt like I was just in a bit over my head. – First, let me show
you this gorgeous clip of some doofus on a scooter. So you can see what the
Skydio is like at its best. This is tracking me with
Skydio’s cameras alone. Notice it’s ducking under trees and swooping around branches. Next, I gave it a tougher
challenge going full speed on my bicycle, taking Skydio’s range-extending GPS
beacon along for the ride. I love that it let the
drone come find me even when I thought I’d left it in the dust, but the footage wasn’t always
as dynamic as I’d like. I imagined myself diving
through trees with the skydio, but the drone would sometimes
just go around and see here how it looks like the
drone’s totally lost me. This is a weird quirk. The Skydio’s still tracking me but the camera’s pointed the wrong way. Though the Skydio did
eventually turn around and find me again. And look at this. I was super impressed with
this footage of the drone following me under a bridge. I felt like I needed that beacon. Without it, Skydio’s cameras just couldn’t keep up with my bike. Here’s the same path you saw me take with the beacon without it. Time after time, the drone
got stuck behind foliage. You could drive a small
truck through no problem. This drone just does
not wanna hurt itself. Even when I was manually piloting it, the Skydio 2 refused to
fly through some spaces I’d have no trouble
flying a regular drone. But the Skydio 2 isn’t smart
enough to stay out of trouble. Here’s the moment it decided
to fly over someone’s private property for a no
particularly good reason. Here’s the moment I realized
a train might be about to pancake this drone and
no easy way to stop it. And here’s the moment it
freaked out in downtown San Francisco and nearly
electrocuted itself. But the main reason I’m
not buying Skydio right now is the rough, unfinished software. It always takes way too long
to get it up in the air, whether it’s a failed WiFi link, waiting ages for a GPS lock,
or one of the weird glitches where the controller refuses to connect. And why? Even though the Skydio knows
how to find a safe landing zone by itself, will it crash if you manually tell it to land on safely? – All right, it’s camera time. So let’s address the
elephant in the room right? This drone is supposed to
compete with DJI flagship drones but it has a lot smaller sensor. So it’s not really a fair comparison. Compared to the original
Skydio, the Skydio R1, this is a massive leap forward
but that is a low low bar. compared to the other drones
that use the similar size sensor, you pretty much
know what to expect. Crisp 4K footage and some noise. Skydio does have some
of its own limitations. For one, you can only film
in one color profile mode. There’s nothing like a flat
center-like profile which usually gives you a little
bit more room for coloring. You can even adjust that one
standard profile that you have but if that’s what you want, you’ll be pleased with
the overall results. The colors look accurate,
white balance is on point like 99% of the time and
overall in sharpness, it’s great as long as you’re shooting
a very low ISO: 100, 200. Here are a few clips I filmed
in a fairly well lit warehouse where I still have to crank
up the ISO to 400 and 800 and I’m not really a
fan of what I got here. Skydio also shoots in HDR. It looks better than some
of the other HDR modes that I’ve tried out like Parrot anafi meaning it’s not as aggressive
but to me I see more changes in color rather than in
exposure and those color changes often look a bit
too saturated and unreal. All right, let’s move on to photos. The JPEG that you get out of this drone, they look pretty good. There’s not a lot of chromatic aberration just look fairly sharp. The only issue is again with the noise that starts creeping in as
you keep raising the ISO. Basically, anything above 100
ISO looks pretty noisy to me. It’s still usable and looks
fine on smaller screens. So y’all Instagramers will be pleased. You’ll be happy to know that
you can shoot RAW photos, which gives you a bit more
flexibility in editing. But I feel like there’s one thing missing which is more photos specific mode. Stuff like 360 spherical
photos or vertical photos or 180 panoramas. Maybe next year, or in the next update. As we have established before there are four ways of flying this drone. My preferred way is flying
it with the controller. It’s just what I’m used to
and it gives me more control to get that cinematic footage that I want. This controller right here, it’s the very same controller
that you get with Parrot anafi and I never liked it. I still don’t. It feels bulkier than it needs to be and some of the buttons
don’t actually do much. It all feels just a bit unfinished. Oh, on top of all one of the
joysticks broke in Felicia’s backpack, so yep, still
not loving this controller. Okay, let’s move on to the app. The Skydio app is fairly straightforward, maybe a bit too
straightforward for my liking, there’s no way to quickly glance at it to check your settings without
opening a separate menu which then covers most of your screen. And there’s no way to tell
distance and the height of the drone, which is why I can’t tell you exact range numbers. Skydio promises around two miles of range in perfect conditions and I definitely didn’t get anywhere close to that. Plus the transmission quality
is nowhere near DJI’s. The video feeds get choppy
and pixelated even when you can still easily spot
the drone with your naked eye which you definitely
should because that’s how you’re legally supposed to fly your drone. But my overall flying
experience was pretty good. The drone behaves well in the air, it has nice smooth acceleration
and can slow down quickly if it senses an obstacle. I can see myself using this
drone instead of the Mavic 2 for specific tracking features,
like this shot right here. But still, flying this drone
straight into a building and hoping it will avoid it is a
scariest way to fly a drone. It’s definitely a surreal
kind of frightening feeling, which I didn’t enjoy at times. Like right here. I was so damn nervous I was
going to crash the drone or worse hurt someone but
Skydio handled it well. I do wish there was some visual indication on the screen telling you,
okay, I see the thing. And you’re good, I’ll avoid it. Skydio made some clear
choices which point towards who they’re tryna score and I don’t think I’m in
that targeted audience. You will get some nice looking
footage from this drone. And you can get tracking
shots which no other drone can get unless you’re really
exceptional at flying. But if you wanna have full
control over your flying and you’re filming, this
drone probably isn’t for you. And finally, I wanna spend a second talking about the built of this thing. I think it looks really nice. Materials look solid,
the gimbal feels robust. It is exposed however, so in
case you do crash this thing, it’s probably gonna get damaged. But this drone isn’t gonna crash, right? – Skydio can do things no other drone can. We flew it in and around
trees and obstacles for hours, and we only managed to crash
it by landing on a bad surface. It’s a drone, an absolute
beginner can learn to fly without fear, even if there are
too many ways to control it. And none of them are terribly intuitive. It can be your self-flying
camera with caveats, and it could get a professional some shots they can’t get any other way if they’re satisfied
with the image quality. We just also get the sense this self-flying drone
vision isn’t quite complete. Maybe there’s something better
like a Skydio 2 pro perhaps or a Skydio 3. If you wanna know more about
the Skydio 2’s tech, specs, or how it was made, check out
our hands on video that we filmed at their headquarters
in Mountain View, California. They build and test it right there.

Eugene Islam

69 thoughts on “This drone does what DJI can’t

  1. Who's been a fan of verge
    before 2019??

    Yoo OMG Mr Beast COMMENTED on my recent vid! I'm literally crying rn😭💞

  2. Who's been a fan of verge
    before 2019??

    Yoo OMG Mr Beast COMMENTED on my recent vid! I'm literally crying rn😭💞

  3. Flying in Downtown or close to cars and people without real control of the drone seems very irresponsible! I get it, this drone isn`t supposed to crash but what if it flies right above the road and a car drives into it? I'm also not sure if flying there is even legal…

  4. wow this is amazing, truly dependable auto pilot mode! With my DJI Spark, I need to re-learn so many flying intricacies after a gap of a few months! Just hope Skydio comes in the same fold-able and pocketable form factor as DJI Mavic air!

  5. skydio: advanced AI Tracking, Nvidia autonomous driving chipset, 4k60p, made in USA
    DJI: $399 with controller, ships today, (plus no tracking)

  6. 'because that's how you're legally supposed to fly a drone' – inmidiately continues with a shot that's impossible with line of sight 😂

  7. To be honest I think the skydio is great I mean sure it's not perfect – has a slightly worse video quality and some weird quirks but it has some SERIOUS AI CAPABILITIES which none of the compatitors even come close to – so I think it's not bad for "just" 999$ which is cheaper than the Mavic 2

  8. I need a no-nonsense min feature drone that can follow me and avoid obstacles – I’ll keep an eye out when this product is fully baked

  9. Regards that choppy live image at the controller. I also have the Parrot Anafi and notice that the link quality improves when you put your phone in Airplane Mode (i.e cutting off a strong source of local RF). Also, you're in a city environment with a cacophony of strong RF, so a combination of the two will slug the live video image. That aside, DJI's Ocusync 2.0 invariably negates all that, giving a nice clean 1080p live image within VLOS.

  10. Obstacle avoidance is definitely attractive… the follow gimick is not. There are a lot of practical and fun uses for an uncrashable drone. I can't think of a single use for a drone that stalks me!

  11. I guess if there was a direct comparison between this and one of the DJIs, pros of skydio would be more obvious. I mean, Mavic mini has some kind of tracking too, would be interesting to compare them.

  12. 1:56 All the " I Panicked… ", and " Stressed Me Out… " buzzword, is a sign that you should never let this person drive or pilot anything, because that's how accidents happen, specially for people who suddenly lost the ability to make quick decisions in heat of the moment.

  13. All this human tracking tech still freaks me out. I can't rid my mind of all those black mirror/terminator associations.

  14. You guys notice the drone by the light in the tower @ 8:19? If you look carefully you can see a drone that actually landed up there. I don't remember if you are allowed up there or not

  15. Why has the Verge held on to such boring presenters. They have the absolute softest, safest journalists. And this 10 minutes of sleep music is the result.

    10/10 would put on again when I need to put my kids down for a nap.

  16. Excellent video. Doesn’t sugar coat anything, so many people are saying things about this drone and aren’t listing the negatives. My one and only concern is using it with the controller. The choppy connection when it’s still close by is troubling.

    Since I planned on buying it with the controller & the beacon, I’m hesitant. Maybe I’ll wait to see what the Mavic 3 will be. Maybe this drone pushes DJI towards adding similar obstacle avoidance ?

  17. The Mavic 2 is the still top drone but it does costs significantly more. I think Skydio 2 is better compared to Autel Evo since they are in the same price range. It's like Mustang and Camaro are great but don't compare them to Ferrari or Lamborghini 😄

  18. Why you guys are choosing to talk and make comparisons it's better to put this thing on people hand and let them discover and decide what makes it better.DJI already prove itself on the field on days in days out used

  19. I feel like they don't get the purpose of this drone right… They are basically comparing a GoPro to a DSLR. Rainmaker (sports tech reviewer) definitely understand the drone purpose and has an amazing review

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