In the heart of Silicon Valley, San Mateo-based drone company Skydio is revolutionizing defense technology. Their autonomous drones, already in use by U.S. service members, provide real-time situational awareness on the battlefield without risking human lives.
Adam Bry, Skydio’s CEO, transformed his childhood passion for radio-controlled airplanes into a game-changing innovation.
“It’s just incredibly powerful for soldiers to be able to put something in the air to get immediate real-time situational awareness around them. They don’t have to rely on some super expensive high-flying drone,” Bry said.
Skydio drones are not only deployed on battlefields but also donated to Ukrainian soldiers. They provide a unique perspective, documenting war crimes and aiding in understanding reconstruction efforts.
Silicon Valley’s leading-edge software development and artificial intelligence genesis are the backbone of this innovation. Bry believes these strengths could be a boon for the country if harnessed correctly.
Venture capital firms like Shield Capital, run by former Air Force pilot Raj Shah, play a significant role in this tech revolution. Shah believes that advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity are crucial for preserving democracy and come from businesses based in the valley.
Despite the high-risk nature of the field, Shah advocates for providing our service members with cutting-edge technology.
“Our men and women in uniform are some of the most innovative, dedicated people you’ll ever meet and you will see evidence of that Fleet Week in the air and on the sea,” Shah said. “And so they deserve to have the best technology and the best equipment possible because they’re going to take whatever we give them and do their best no matter what. They’re on a no-fail mission.”
Bry envisions his drones being used beyond the military, potentially responding to 911 calls and providing real-time information to officers. The newly-released X10 drone, equipped with high-level sensors and cameras, can map structures within minutes or track moving objects from miles away.
Bry’s passion for his work is palpable. “I’m not neutral, but I think it’s the most exciting stuff in the world to be working on,” he said. This Silicon Valley spirit continues to push the boundaries of defense technology, keeping our warfighters ahead of the curve.