US autonomous drone maker Skydio announces the general availability of Skydio 3D Scan and partners with photogrammetry leader Bentley Systems
Skydio, a leading US drone manufacturer and leader in autonomous flight technology, has announced the general availability of its adaptive scanning software, Skydio 3D Scan.
3D Scan extends Skydio’s autonomous flight engine with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) skills that automate photographic data collection and mapping tasks ranging from infrastructure asset inspection to crime and accident scene reconstruction. In addition, Skydio announced that Bentley Systems, the infrastructure engineering software company, has joined DroneDeploy and RealityCapture in Skydio’s technology partner ecosystem as a preferred photogrammetry solution for 3D Scan datasets.
3D Scan makes inspection jobs up to 75 per cent faster
Traditional asset inspections performed by workers using bucket trucks, ropes, and ladders are dangerous, time-consuming, inaccurate, and often damaging for the environment. Drones have emerged as a valuable tool to conduct visual inspections and gather critical data without putting operators at risk. Drone inspections can generate valuable datasets without putting inspectors at risk. But the complexity, crash risk, and training costs of manual drones have greatly limited their ability to generate useful data. These capture workflows are especially critical as the industry transitions from providing inspection reports consisting of handwritten notes and photographs of structures to fully immersive, annotated 3D models that enable measurements and continuous status tracking. Manual drones require cumbersome mission planning, constant access to GPS, and intense focus from an elite pilot to avoid collisions–when inspection teams should be focused on capturing the best data instead.
3D Scan automates data capture for asset inspection and scene reconstruction, allowing any inspector, surveyor, or first responder to efficiently capture a complete photographic dataset that documents every angle of a scene, ensuring accurate coverage with sub-millimetre precision in a fraction of the time while significantly reducing risk. This revolutionary technology ushers in a new age of autonomous inspection. Specifically, 3D Scan will improve:
- Rapid Field Assessment. Generates photosets in minutes and enables intelligent photo browsing in the field for real-time inspection and decision-making.
- Digital Twin Generation. Provides data for 3D models of key assets and scenes that can enable up-to-date status tracking and integration in VR, game engines, and cultural heritage sites.
- Inspection Reporting. Inspections performed by Drone Service Providers can standardise to the highest standard of quality and coverage.
- Crime and Accident Scene Reconstruction. More rapid and complete documentation clears scenes faster while generating complete virtual records.
“We are extremely excited about the value that 3D Scan delivers. Manual drones cannot see and understand the 3D nature of the world and, as a result, can’t provide a scalable solution to replace traditional inspection methods. With 3D Scan, we are turning Skydio drones into intelligent scanning robots that can build real-time flight plans optimised to each scene, and generate the best possible photographic datasets.” – Hayk Martiros, VP of Autonomy, Skydio.
3D Scan is adaptive mapping software that extends Skydio’s flight autonomy engine to generate tailored inspection flight paths in real-time to digitise any asset or scene. The technology comes to market battle-tested after months of trials with leading organisations, including Sundt Construction, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), and the Boston Police Department. Early access participants have reported up to 75 per cent faster data capture, 50 per cent greater inspection team output, and 30 per cent lower reinspection rates (needing to refly the structure due to incomplete data on the first attempt) during the trial period.
“We have been amazed by the results we achieved using 3D Scan during the Early Access Program. Our teams will be able to get in the field faster and better serve our clients through the business development, operations, and close-out processes.” – Dean Miller, Virtual Construction Engineer, Sundt Construction.
First responders will soon store and manage the chain of custody for their 3D Scan datasets using Skydio’s integration with Axon Evidence.com. This workflow gives public safety operators new tools for presenting full evidence of crime and accident scenes.
3D Scan is available for Skydio 2 now, with Skydio X2 availability coming soon. The software can be purchased as an optional add-on to any Skydio 2, starting at $2,999 per drone per year or as part of new vehicle and software bundles.
Bentley Systems joins Skydio’s technology partner ecosystem as a preferred partner for photogrammetry
Skydio 3D Scan datasets can be used to generate 3D models through a growing ecosystem of 3D reconstruction engines, including Dronedeploy, RealityCapture, Bentley’s ContextCapture. The high-quality and accurate imagery from Skydio 3D Scan generates better 3D models than current manual drone workflows, limiting the performance of reconstruction engines.
“We are excited to partner with Skydio to help our users safely, reliably, and repeatedly generate the photo datasets required to create amazing 3D models and digital twins. Infrastructure assets like roads and bridges, rail and transit systems, utilities, and buildings and industrial facilities are very complicated and capturing them accurately and precisely is hard to do manually. Combining the Skydio drone automation with the high-performance and highly scalable 3D reconstruction capabilities of Bentley’s ContextCapture will enable our users to create great models, more frequently, and more cost-effectively than before.” – Robert Mankowski, SVP of Digital Cities at Bentley.