Skydio 2 Drone 65KPH Wind & Waves Cycling Test

If you’re a regular subscriber of my YouTube Channel you know that one of my ‘specialties’ is high wind drone testing – basically pushing the drones to the limits of their capabilities in conditions that most people wouldn’t want to risk their drone in – all in the name of science. My collective series of videos doing this has over 1.2 million views.

But there’s been a test I’ve been wanting to do for the better part of a year that I finally had a chance to do a couple of months ago, and now finally the time to edit it up: A Skydio 2 autonomous drone tracking test with nearly 70KPH winds, while heavy waves crashed against the break wall aside and over me. It would be a test of not only the autonomous tracking aspects (which uses 7 cameras to follow you automatically), but also the aircraft’s ability to handle the crazy gusting winds. From salt spray to an unexpected rain squall – this video has it all.

Additionally, as you can clearly see from the thumbnail above – it’s an opportunity to test whether my bike handling skills can handle not only the wind on wet pavement combination, but also the waves literally crashing through me as I ride.

There’s not much more text that needs texting here – so I’ll leave you with simply hitting the play button up above, and enjoying a bit of Friday fun. Fear not, we’ll return to all important cycling and running sports tech product reviews next week.

Have a good weekend!

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14 Comments

  1. Bruce Burkhalter

    That is really cool. Great job by both the drone and you!

    So did you think you were going to lose the drone? Did you calculate how many views the video would need to replace it? 🙂

    • Thanks!

      Nah, no real concerns about drone loss on this one. I knew that the Skydio 2 is capable of far higher airspeed handling speeds than this wind, even if not on paper spec. It’s sorta the secret to these tests: Understanding the true airspeed before a drone gets into trouble.

      There’s actually a ton of mostly invisible things I do in these videos to guard against stuff going wrong. I always do the videos such that if need be, the drone is always up-wind of either the pier of the beach, so if push comes to shove (literally), it’ll simply end up on one of those two (but preferably the pier). I never fly on a day where the wind is pushing out to sea, and you’ll see how I repeatedly ensure the drone kept on the non-wave side of the pier, to avoid it getting taken out by a wave.

      My only real concern this time around was simply ensuring that all the water on the screen didn’t accidentally tell the drone to land right now, while over the water. 🙂

      I’m sure given enough years I’ll eventually lose one in a test, but I suspect if/when it happens, the root cause will be for something totally unrelated to the actual wind being tested.

  2. The Real Bob

    Is it kind of scary riding out like that? Seeing those big waves and you being on a small peninsula seems so sketchy. Makes for a cool video though.

    • I purposefully went with the mountain-bike for more stability. Regrettably (or not), the waves were actually somewhat small that day. There are two piers, and I prefer to shoot on the southern pier (almost all of it is clear of the no-fly zone, while the northern pier I have to stay in the furthest section from land).

      But more importantly, the wind usually comes out of the south a bit more, so the waves break on the southern pier, and usually much harder and with more gusto and height. So while the waves look intense here, they’re kinda wimpy in terms of actual water quantity. More spray than dumpage.

      Whereas the southern pier you tend to get serious dumpage with each break.

  3. Paul Tomblin

    If you’ve got the drone following you, and it’s getting close to the end of the battery, will it return from where you launched it or will it come to you?

    • It’ll RTH (Return to Home) to the homepoint you set it for, upon low battery (assuming that’s how you’ve configured it).

      That gets a bit messy in this situation due to the size of the pier being fairly narrow. Usually modern drones will near-perfectly re-land in the same spot…but not always. I try and take-off usually more center of the pier, to allow a bit more margin of error.

  4. Andrew M

    Glad the drone handled the conditions. But as for the bike … completely trashed by the salt spray. 😊

    • Nah, I brought extra freshwater bottles at the pier to wash it down, and then about 35 minutes later at the office with the hose (watch the last 20 seconds of the video). 3 months later, no issues.

    • Andrew M

      I missed that – I quit at the voiceover wrap-up.

      Glad to hear that no bikes were harmed in the making of this video.

  5. hdb

    Pro-tip: Don’t buy used bikes from Ray.. 😉

  6. Vic

    Tip for you: Each year on the windiest day of the year: the Dutch championship biking against the wind. Good luck! link to youtu.be

  7. David Richmond

    Love the conversation you are having with the drone, giving it flying and location advice…. voice activation/control….. a future feature?