With SkySpecs’ Guardians, The Drones Have Become Self-Aware

SkySpecs has solved the biggest problem with drones: avoiding obstacles. With the company’s first product, launching today at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield 2015, drones become aware of their surroundings and will automatically avoid objects. If a person walks towards the spinning blades of death, the drone will casually back out of the way. If there is a tree in the way, the drone will avoid it.

Best of all, this system works with existing drone platforms.

SkySpecs’ team has been building drones for six years and and individuals in the company come from teams that won the 2012 international aerial competition and the prestigious DARPA sponsored “MAGIC” competition. These guys know drones.

Guardian is the company’s initial product and they tell me it’s the first product to offer this sort of capability. It works as advertised. While demoing in Hardware Battlefield at CES 2015, the drone swiftly moved out of the way of a person walking towards the blades.


SkySpec envisions its technology for both commercial and industrial uses. Guardian drones will be able to avoid, say, spinning blades on windmills or utility lines.

Co-founder Thomas Brady tells me that the founders of the company were previously part of both volunteer and doctoral research in ground, sea, and air robotics. After graduating from the University of Michigan, with backgrounds in autonomous vehicle research, the founders went on to found SkySpecs.

As members of Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles, the APRIL laboratory, and the autonomous boat team at the university of Michigan, SkySpecs founding team met. After graduating, the team couldn’t imagine doing anything else and so SkySpecs was born.

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