Skydio R1 – Jetson TX1 Based Self-Flying Camera

So you’ve been working on your Jetson TX1 project for a while, and need a little inspiration. It turns out that there’s a group of people at Skydio that put together a very impressive product around the Jetson TX1. Here’s a very nice and informative preview video of the Skydio R1 in action from Looky here:


The Skydio R1 is state of the art in its implementation of tracking and path planning algorithms. The hardware platform consists of a Jetson TX1 module, with 6 pairs of stereo cameras. Including the 4K video imager, this makes for 13 (!) cameras all together. Here’s a look inside:

Skydio R1 Jetson Module
Skydio cutaway showing Jetson TX1 Module

There’s lots of good stuff inside (the Jetson TX1 is the circuit board in the middle), but the ‘secret sauce’ so to speak is the software stack which runs the drone. Advances in machine learning over the last few years enables the autonomous drone to have eight different algorithms to track a person in a scene, including the difficult “fly in front of me and get the shot”.

The stereo cameras help build a 360 degree view of the surrounding environment. There is a pair for each of the front, back, left, right, top and bottom of the aircraft. These camera views were used to train a neural network for identifying objects in the environment. This information allows the robot to not only follow the subject, but also to avoid obstacles while flying.

As we know, an equally impressive feat is implementation of the path and motion planning algorithms to get the high quality cinematic shots. If you think about it, the Skydio R1 has to think about the future (in this case about 4 seconds) to calculate not only where the subject is, but where they are going. Then the robot has plan a path to get where it needs to be to get the shot. Since the autonomous drone can fly about 25 miles per hour, you understand that this can be quite a challenge!

The Skydio R1 is available for pre-order, and begins shipping in March.

Color me impressed!

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