The Skydio Beacon unlocks a new level of robustness by extending the communication range and providing accurate user positioning while also enabling lightweight controllability.

Click to download the full PDF of the Skydio Beacon User Guide

Controls Overview

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Charging the Beacon

The USB-C charging port allows you to charge your Beacon by connecting the USB-C cable and power adapter that came with your Skydio 2.

Needs To Be Charged Charging
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The Beacon’s screen will indicate that it is currently charging. When the Beacon is fully charged, the screen will turn off.

Pairing the Beacon to Skydio 2

To fly with the Beacon, you must first pair the Beacon with Skydio 2. Each Beacon may only pair to a single Skydio 2 at a time. Once a Beacon is paired with a drone, it will automatically connect to that drone every time it is turned on until it is paired with a different Skydio 2.

Step 1

Connect a Skydio battery to Skydio 2; to turn on, press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. skydio2-poweringon.png

Step 2

Press and hold the blue SKYDIO button for 3 seconds to turn on the Beacon. beacon-powerbutton.png

Step 3

If your Beacon has never paired with a Skydio 2 drone before, the screen will instruct you to connect the Beacon to a vehicle. beacon-connecttovehicle.png

Step 4

Plug the Beacon into Skydio 2 using the USB-C cable that came with the Skydio 2. beacon-skydio2pairingconnection.png

Step 5

The Beacon will say “Connected to Skydio-XXXX” when it has successfully paired and connected to Skydio 2. beacon-lookingforskydio.pngbeacon-pairingnewdevice.pngbeacon-skydioconnected.png

Updating Beacon Software

The Beacon will automatically check for a software update every time it connects to Skydio 2. If an update is available, the screen will display “Updating Beacon.” The Beacon will automatically apply the new software update and reconnect to the Skydio 2 when it is finished. Do not power the Beacon off while an update is in progress.

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Learning to Fly

If you have not done so, Skydio highly recommends you perform your first Skydio 2 flight without the Beacon to complete the Learn to Fly experience. See the Your First Flight section of the Skydio 2 User Guide for more details.

Preparing for Launch

1. Before launch, your Beacon will perform pre-flight checks, such as looking for updates. The Beacon relies on a strong GPS signal to operate and is required for launch. The GPS strength indication can be found in the center icon of the header. If GPS is weak, you may be prompted to connect your phone to the Beacon’s WiFi to speed up the process.

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2. To fly, press and hold the blue Skydio button to launch.

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Flying with Beacon

Hand Launch vs. Ground Launch

When launching from the ground using a Beacon, Skydio 2 will hover in place. The person holding the Beacon should stand in front of the camera and tap the Skydio button to begin subject tracking. This significantly improves Beacon tracking performance when starting from a ground launch and allows for a strong visual tracking lock. If the Beacon holder is not standing in front of Skydio 2, it will use the GPS signal of the Beacon to locate the subject.

When performing a hand launch with the Beacon, Skydio 2 will fly forward while rising up, then automatically turn around and lock on the pilot.

Tracking

When tracking a subject, the Skydio 2 relies on visual recognition of a subject to follow. However, there may be cases, such as going through dense trees, where the subject is not completely visible. In cases such as these, Skydio 2 will rely on GPS tracking to maintain subject lock. These fluctuations in subject tracking are indicated by the icon in the top right corner.

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Troubleshooting

If it looks like the vehicle has locked onto the wrong subject when using the Beacon, check to see if the Ambiguous Visual Tracking icon is present (see below). You may either go into Steering Mode to move the vehicle directly in front of you, begin moving away from others so that the vehicle can better distinguish you, or select yourself from your phone.

Icon

State

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Ambiguous Visual Tracking

Skydio 2 picks a subject out of a group but isn’t 100% confident it’s the right person.

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Implicit Visual Tracking

Skydio 2 is confident it has automatically identified the subject.

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Explicit Visual Tracking

A subject is explicitly selected on the phone.

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GPS Tracking

Skydio 2 is using the Beacon’s GPS to track a subject.

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Not Tracking

Skydio 2 is not tracking a subject.

Beacon GPS

GPS strength can be determined via the center header icon. If the three satellite rings are present, then GPS is good. If GPS drops below an optimal connection, the beacon will prompt you to check the phone.

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Range

Pressing the “+” and “-” buttons will change the range that Skydio 2 will track you from.
There are four options you may choose from for tracking range:

  • 5m (16 ft)
  • 10m (32 ft)
  • 20m (65 ft)
  • 40m (130 ft)

A strong GPS signal is required to track from 40m and poor GPS performance may impact tracking quality. If GPS quality is insufficient, the maximum tracking range on the Beacon will be capped at 20m in order to maintain a visual lock.

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Beacon Skills

Beacon comes with 5 available AI skills for you to choose from: Motion Track, Fixed Track, Orbit, Hover, and Steering. When Skydio 2 first takes off with the Beacon, it always begins in the Motion Track skill. To change the current skill, tap the Stop button to command Skydio 2 to halt movement and hover in place. While Skydio 2 is stationary you may select the skill you want by pressing the left and right arrows buttons. Pressing the Skydio Button activates the selected skill. While Skydio 2 is stopped, you may use the “+” and “-” buttons to change the altitude of the drone.

Motion Track Skill

Motion Track is the default skill after launch and allows Skydio 2 to track and maintain a safe distance from the subject while avoiding obstacles. In this skill, you may use the Left and Right Arrows or Wand, described below, to change the angle Skydio 2 films the subject from, such as from the front, side, or behind.

For Skydio 2 to track a subject in a specified orientation, the subject must be moving for Skydio 2 to determine where to move. If you change Skydio 2’s orientation and notice it not changing to the newly selected orientation, begin moving so Skydio 2 can determine where to move.

AFTER WANDING: SUBJECT NOT MOVING SUBJECT MOVING
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Orientation Options:

  • Lead
  • Right-Quarter Lead
  • Right Side
  • Right-Quarter Follow
  • Follow
  • Left-Quarter Follow
  • Left Side
  • Left-Quarter Lead

Fixed Track

When tracking a subject, the Fixed Track skill allows you to set Skydio 2 in a fixed position in relation to the tracked subject. Enter the Fixed Track skill by pressing the Stop button, then use the arrows to scroll left and select Fixed Track with the Skydio Button. Once in Fixed Track, you may re-enter Hover by pressing the Stop button.

The Fixed Track skill is ideal for maintaining a fixed recording angle.

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When entering the skill, the dot will always start at the top of the ring.

Orbit

The Orbit skill causes Skydio 2 to rotate around in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, keeping you in the center of the frame. When orbiting with the Beacon you may change the speed & direction of the orbit using either the Left and Right buttons or using the Wand controls to drag & drop Skydio 2 in the direction and speed you wish.

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Hover

The Hover skill keeps Skydio 2 stationary while maintaining sight of you. Enter the Hover skill by pressing the Stop button. Once in Hover, you may select Motion Track, Fixed Track, or Steering by using the arrows and pressing the Skydio button. While Hovering, use the “+” and “-” buttons to change the height.

Steering

The Steering skill allows you to control Skydio 2 manually and can help you get out of tight situations where the drone may become stuck. Enter the Steering skill by pressing the Stop button, then use the arrows to scroll right and select Steering with the Skydio Button. Once in Steering, you may re-enter Hover by pressing the Stop buttonWhile in Steering, you may:

    • Use the arrows to turn left or right.
    • Press and hold the Skydio button and move forward.
    • Use the “+” and “-” buttons to change the height.

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Wand Controls

The Wand feature provides simple one-handed “drag and drop” controls, allowing you to quickly and easily change the angle and height Skydio 2 will follow from. This feature is only enabled in the Motion TrackFixed Track, Orbit, and Hover skills when a subject is being tracked.

  • Point the Beacon at Skydio 2.
  • Press and hold the blue Skydio button.
  • While holding the Skydio button, slowly point the Beacon in the direction you want the drone to move. You can move the drone left, right, up, and down.
  • Release the Skydio button to set the drone in the new position.
  • After moving the drone to a new position, it will lock in the new filming angle.

Instant Dronie

While using either the Motion Track or Fixed Track skills, you may double-tap the Skydio button to fire off a Dronie one-shot instantly. While the Dronie is in progress, tapping the Stop button will cancel the Dronie and have Skydio 2 return to you. Pressing the Stop button while the vehicle is returning will place the Skydo 2 in Hover at its current location.

Landing with the Beacon

When you are ready to end your flight and land Skydio 2 using the Beacon, use the Wand and Decrease Range controls to bring Skydio 2 close to you. Ensure the drone is situated over a safe landing spot that is flat, clear of debris and not overhead of any people or animals. Once you’re ready to land, press and hold the Stop button on the Beacon for three seconds. You will see a countdown timer before landing begins.

When a landing is initiated, Skydio 2 will descend with full obstacle avoidance until it is 3m (10 ft) above the ground. Once Skydio 2 is less than 3m from the ground its LEDs will turn yellow and all obstacle avoidance will be disabled for the remainder of the landing.

WARNING: Do not attempt to hand catch Skydio 2 before the LEDs turn yellow. Attempting to hand catch Skydio 2 while obstacle avoidance is active will cause it to attempt to avoid your hand and may result in Skydio 2 impacting yourself or another nearby object. Please see our related article Hand Launching and Hand Landing your Skydio 2 for more info.

You may cancel a landing by tapping the Stop button on the Beacon, which will return Skydio 2 to hovering in place.

Beacon LED

COLOR

STATE

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BLUE

SOLID: Connected to Skydio 2


BLINKING: Looking for Skydio 2

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YELLOW

SOLID: Notification


BLINKING: Warning

Low Battery

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RED

BLINKING: Critical Battery Low

Emergency Landing

Using Beacon with the Skydio App

You may connect your mobile device directly to the Beacon’s own WiFi network, which allows you to have full control using the Skydio 2 app while utilizing the Beacon’s long-range antenna. In this scenario, it's helpful think of the Beacon as a "range extender" for your phone.

  • Connecting Phone to Beacon
    • The WiFi information (network name and password) is labeled on the back of the Beacon.
  • Changing Skills
    • You can only choose skills which are supported on the Beacon.
  • Canceling Subject Tracking from the Phone
    • If you choose to cancel subject tracking via the phone app, Skydio 2 will enter Hover mode, and phone controls will become available.

Troubleshooting

If you are having trouble operating your Beacon accessory, please contact our support team using the information found at the bottom of this page.

Compliance Information

FCC

Any changes or modifications to this equipment not expressly approved by Skydio for compliance will void the user's authorization to operate this equipment.

This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:

  • Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
  • Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
  • Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
  • Consult the dealer or experienced radio/TV technician for help.

This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

For body worn application, this device has been tested and meets FCC RF exposure guidelines when used with the Skydio 2. Use of other accessories may not ensure compliance with FCC RF exposure guidelines.

California Prop 65 Warning

Lithium-ion Batteries and/or products that contain Lithium-ion Batteries can expose you to chemicals including cobalt lithium nickel oxide, and nickel, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

IC

This device contains license-exempt transmitter(s)/receiver(s) that comply with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s license-exempt RSS(s). Operation is subject to the following two conditions:

  • This device may not cause interference.
  • This device must accept any interference, including interference that may cause undesired operation of the device.

For body worn application, this device has been tested and meets ISED RF exposure guidelines when used with the Skydio 2. Use of other accessories may not ensure compliance with ISED RF exposure guidelines.

L'émetteur/récepteur exempt de license contenu dans le présent appareil est conforme aux CNR d'Innovation, Sciences et Développement économique Canada applicables aux appareils radio exempts de licence. L'exploitation est autorisée aux deux conditions suivantes :

  • L'appareil ne doit pas produire de brouillage;
  • L'appareil doit accepter tout brouillage radioélectrique subi, même si le brouillage est susceptible d'en compromettre le fonctionnement.

Pour les applications portées sur le corps, cet appareil a été testé et répond aux directives d'exposition ISDE RF lorsqu'il est utilisé avec le Skydio 2. L'utilisation d'autres accessoires peut ne pas garantir la conformité aux directives d'exposition ISED RF.