Axon Enterprise (AXON 1.43%) and drone maker Skydio announced a strategic partnership Thursday to bring the unmanned aircraft into the Axon Air fleet for law enforcement.
Axon will be Skydio's exclusive reseller and digital evidence management partner to public safety globally. Skydio's drones will be integrated into the full suite of Axon programs beyond the aerial surveillance program, including Axon Evidence and Axon Respond.
Axon Air was launched several years ago and allowed law enforcement to pilot and livestream drone footage directly into its digital evidence management database, Axon Evidence. Originally developed with Chinese drone maker DJI, the app was compatible with the Mavic 2 Enterprise and Matrice 200 series of drones.
But there are national security concerns surrounding DJI, which has around a 70% market share, and its relationship with the Chinese government. In December, the Commerce Department put DJI on a blacklist for the U.S. government along with a number of other tech companies. Two years ago, a state and local law enforcement supplier of drone technology called Cape said it would no longer sell software compatible with Chinese-made drones.
Skydio is a U.S.-based drone maker whose claim to fame is that its drones are nearly "crash-proof" because they are equipped with sensors on all sides rather than just front and back like consumer-oriented drones.
Its Skydio 2 and Skydio X2 drones are immediately available through Axon, and there are plans to integrate them into the evidence management system and its dispatch and command center program.
Skydio recently raised $170 million in Series D funding led by Andreessen Horowitz's Growth Fund, giving it a current value of over $1 billion.