Meet The Drone Startup Scoring Millions In Government Surveillance Contracts



As civil unrest erupts across America, protesters face a military backlash. These soldiers come armed with next-generation surveillance technologies, some spying from the skies above, hooked up to inconspicuous drones that can autonomously track people. These devices have cost the U.S. government tens of millions of dollars in the last year alone, according to forbes.com.


Skydio, a drone startup backed by superstar basketball player and investor Kevin Durant, is a recent addition to the government’s aerial surveillance arsenal. Founded by two ex-Google software engineers and former MIT students – CEO Adam Bry and CTO Abraham Bachrach – the craft made its name as a fun, artificial intelligence-powered, consumer-focused unmanned aerial system.


Some dubbed it the “selfie-drone” because of its ability to autonomously track and film a subject, as well as its ease of use via an iPhone or Android smartphone. The Skydio 2, costing USD999, was released in 2019, and quickly became known as “the smartest drone on the planet,” promising to “fly itself while intelligently motion tracking a subject.” This subject could either be a person “doing any activity,” or a car.


Today, the company is quietly pivoting towards government work. In May, the DEA gave a USD190,000 contract to Skydio, following a USD16,000 order last August. That same year, it also scored a USD3 million contract with the U.S. Army and a USD1.5 million deal with the Air Force.


Yet, Skydio has been more vocal about their association with the US police force. In December, the company