Drone Startups part 3: Skycatch

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.


In this edition of drone startups, dronologista presents one of personal favorites: Skycatch.

Skycatch is San Francisco based, Google backed startup developing a platform for capturing data at scale using small autonomous aerial robots. Platform is a system consisting of three parts:

  1. Autonomous UAVs
  2. Ground stations
  3. Logistics dashboard

Autonomous UAVs are small, robust, weatherproof and are able to carry HD cameras and wide range of sensors, allowing its users to capture a variety of data types, enabling different perspective of operations.

Skycatch UAV

Skycatch UAV

Ground station is an engineering marvel, allowing the drones to be 100% autonomous. UAV can takeoff, land, swap batteries and transmit data without human intervention. It is a 45 kg box, with a circular opening on top. As drone approaches guided by GPS, camera and sonar sensors, the ground station uses its own sensors and a radio signal for terminal guidance. Robotic arm swaps the battery replacing it with the fresh one from a 10 battery rotating carousel. 15 gigabytes of data collected by the UAV is then beamed up to Box, a cloud based computing service.

Ground station

Ground station

Logistics dashboard is the system that allows users to select what data they want and when they want it, and the dashboard plans missions automatically, and delivers requested data.

Among the companies already using Skycatch system are construction giants Bechtel and DPR, and biggest solar power plant in the world, the Agua Caliente Solar Project in Arizona (article about solar panel inspection can be found here)

System can be also used for wind turbines blade inspection, mining operation surveillance and agriculture.

In the video presentation below, you can see how the Skycatch works.


Pictures and video courtesy of Skycatch.




Tags: , , , , , ,

7 responses to “Drone Startups part 3: Skycatch”

  1. Drone Analyst says :

    Great post. its very informative. Their videos (and their marketing) could use a lot of help. I commented directly on Vimeo. Cheers

    • dronologista says :

      Hey Drone Analyst, thanks for your comment 🙂
      What kind of help do you have in mind?
      I think that they are doing pretty good so far…

      • Drone Analyst says :

        The only thing differentiating about Skycatch is their ground station. That’s it. All other things they present themselves doing are not unique. In fact others do those things much better. Skycatch need lots of help with the Four P’s of Marketing – especially positioning. Saying things like “Skycatch adds a fourth dimension to your enterprise architecture” is very Silicon Valley / Google-esk. While it attempts to be visionary it says nothing and anything at the same time to onlookers. I see that they took down the Vimeo video I commented on that had 2:45 of intro b-roll. All other videos look *very* amateurish. The only decent one is the one you left on this blog.

  2. dronologista says :

    True, the ground station is a piece of engineering.
    Actually I was surprised that videos are bit less then what I expected. Your comment now makes perfect sense. Thank you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: