Skydio’s new 3D Indoor Capture system aims to improve data collection and the creation of digital-twins for operators engaging in drone-based inspections of large, complex indoor environments. The system offers improved object detection and tracking, upgrades to Skydio’s autonomous flight capabilities for autonomous cinematography, an expansion of the range of supported devices, and a streamlined user experience.

André Becker, a Product Manager at Skydio, told Commercial UAV News that 3D Indoor Capture addresses many of the key issues customers face when scanning large, complicated indoor assets. “Managing large facility inspections and asset monitoring can be complex and challenging especially when dealing with large amounts of data and ensuring that all equipment and systems are working together,” he stated. 

Becker explained that “large scale environments like warehouses, factory floors or construction sites are complex to capture as they have many hard to reach areas, particularly those that are high up.” Moreover, he said, “inspecting and monitoring large facilities and assets requires significant resources - i.e., personnel, equipment, and time. It can be challenging to allocate these resources effectively, particularly when dealing with a large number of sites or assets.”

Also, Becker stated, “With a large number of assets and inspections, there can be a significant amount of data to manage. This can include inspection reports, maintenance schedules, and asset information. It's essential to have effective data management systems in place to automate the data capture process, ensuring that all information is organized and accessible.”

According to Becker, the new system was developed specifically to address customer needs. “The process of development starts with customers having a gap in their daily business, from where we create a problem statement and our vision of how to solve it,” he said. “For indoor capture, these gaps include scale, resource allocation, and data management, but especially the problems around working in spaces where you would otherwise require a cherry picker, scaffolding, or a climber.”

The development of 3D Indoor Capture was collaborative, Becker reported. “Together with some of our customers, Skydio built Indoor Capture upon the foundation of 3D Capture, our adaptive scan mode, which is typically used outside, to inspect complex structures, like bridges or buildings,” he said. “Very early in this process we understood, indoor environments work differently than outside environments. The drone has less space to maneuver and more complex structures to cover. So, we adopted and tailored the mapping algorithms to this environment to cover even hard-to-reach places. What sounds relatively straightforward, ended up in countless iterations at our customer's site, until the drone managed to come up with its own mapping strategy for the perfect automated data collection. We’re proud to see that Indoor Capture makes data collection now easy and accessible for our customers. You could say we democratized the space above people’s heads, but indoors.”