Don’t get me wrong, I think that the Skydio 2 is the most exciting and the most important drone of 2019. That said, there are still two features that the DJI Mavic drones do have that I don’t think Skydio drones will ever have. These two features give DJI an advantage in the eyes of many consumers. In this post, I’ll tell you why the Skydio 2 does not have folding arms and why the Skydio 2 doesn’t have any landing gear.
How to live with the Skydio’s limitations
Before I get into the details, let me start by providing you with some workarounds. To get around the lack of landing gear you can hand launch and hand land your Skydio 2 (assuming it works as well or better than the R1. They say as much on their website.
I definitely recommend you also pick up an inexpensive landing pad to protect the bottom-facing cameras from scratches. You can get one from Amazon for less than $15. I also suggest getting extra propellers from Skydio once they become available. I have NEVER needed to replace my Mavic 2 propellers, but I can see the Skydio 2 props getting some abuse during hard landings.
As for the folding drone issue, that doesn’t bother me much. Too much is made of the compact size of the Mavic series drones. The folding feature is really cool, but ultimately there isn’t much-wasted space in the Skydio carrying case and it is still a small package. The carrying case for the Skydio 2 also looks to protect the drone better than the bag that comes with the Mavic 2 drones.
Why the Skydio 2 has no legs
Unlike the Phantom and Inspire series drones from DJI, the Mavic 2 doesn’t have much in the way of legs. That hasn’t stopped many pilots from buying aftermarket legs like these, which cost just 10 to 20 dollars.
While legs like these provide benefit to the Mavic 2, I don’t think we will see Skydio endorsing such a product. Skydio is all about obstacle avoidance, and obstacle avoidance is all about having an unobstructed field of view. The algorithms on the Skydio 2 are not expecting legs to be there I definitely won’t be putting any on my new drone.
Why the Skydio 2 has fixed arms
Fixed arms are so 2015, so why doesn’t the Skydio 2 fold up? The answer is again obstacle avoidance. There are 6 (yes 6!) 4K obstacle avoidance cameras on the Skydio 2 and they are all precisely aligned to each other.
More than they are aligned, they are calibrated. Once the drone is assembled it goes through a calibration process that permanently fixes the overlap and stitching of the cameras so they all know how they are aligned to each other.
You can’t mess with the calibration once it is done. Folding arms will always have a bit of play their location may change over time. Skydio can’t risk their ground-breaking 360-degree mapping system getting out of adjustment.
No big deal
I’m not losing any sleep over the fixed arms and lack of landing gear. What I am doing is stocking up on some extra props from Skydio (once they are available) and making sure I have an extra landing pad with me at all times.
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