Skydio's new X10 drone is set to “get drones everywhere they can be useful in public safety,” according the company's cofounder and CEOAdam Bry.
This could be critical for the approximately 1,500 U.S. police forces who deploy drones, because it's estimated that only a dozen of those departments routinely launch the drones to respond to 911 emergencies.
The portable Skydio X10 can zip along at up to 45 miles per hour, and its infrared sensors can track people as it flies autonomously at night—with the capability to follow a vehicle from three miles away. In addition, a 65X zoom camera can zero in on a license plate from 800 feet away. The X10 can also carry a spotlight and a speaker.
“Largely based on that zoom camera, I think mitigating or eliminating high-speed chases will be one of the major applications we'll see with customers,” said Bry.
At a recent Skydio event, New York Police Department chief of patrolsJohn Chellhopes drones can diminish the need for helicopter launches.
However, the NYPD’s increasing use of drones is making civil liberties groups such as the ACLU and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project nervous. The ACLU, for example, wants to ban drones being used by police at protests—especially given a 2021 report by Amnesty International that old-school use of surveillance cameras in NYC tend to target and put at risk the civil liberties of people of color. In fact, just last month, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa accused the NYPD of deploying drones to intimate the audience at a recent anti-immigration protest.
[Note: When questioned by WIRED magazine, the NYPD stated one drone was used to track pedestrian and vehicle traffic, as well as other potential public-safety issues.]
Also announced at the X10 debut, was Skydio's partnership with Axon to integrate video from Skydio drones into the software Axon markets to police departments for incident response and evidence management.