Drone companies have grown incredibly quickly over the last decade, both in size and in the sheer number of companies out there.
Compared to ten years ago, there is now a large amount of diversity in the types of drones being made, as well as rapid growth among drone software companies to support all of the different types of use cases for drones.
While it’s impossible to track each and every drone company in such a fast-moving industry, we’ve done our best to highlight the biggest players, best drone companies, and top drone brands to give you a sense of who is doing what in the drone industry.
Make sure to bookmark this page if you’re doing industry research into drone manufacturers. 🙂
For easy navigation, we’ve organized this list of the top drone companies into categories according to their drone services and core offerings. You can use this table of contents to jump to your category of interest.
Interested in becoming a commercial drone pilot? Learn more about the FAA’s Part 107 certification process here.
Drone hardware companies design, manufacture, and sell drones. Common acronyms for drones are UAVs (uncrewed aerial vehicles), sUAS (small uncrewed aerial systems), and UAS (uncrewed aerial systems).
Whether the company makes quadcopters—the most popular type of drone by far in the consumer and commercial markets—fixed wings, or hexacopters, if they are one of the top drone companies on the market, you’ll find them on this list.
Drone manufacturers play a critical role in the drone industry, since they produce the essential components that enable the functioning of drones, such as airframes, motors, sensors, cameras, and batteries.
As the drone industry has grown the number of drone brands creating UAV hardware has grown as well. So has the number of types of drone companies—there are now drone manufacturers that focus on making drones only for specific types of operations, such as Wingtra, which makes drones for aerial surveying and mapping, or Flyability, which makes drones for inspections in confined spaces.
But there are also lots of drone brands focused on more general applications, which offer a range of drones to meet various needs, including aerial photography, delivery, or public safety agency work.
This list of the top drone companies includes both drone manufacturers and companies that make drone accessories, like thermal imaging systems made specifically for UAV platforms.
DJI is one of the top consumer drone manufacturers, known mainly for their Mavic series. The Mavic series has become the quintessential drone for new to intermediate pilots and videographers, and the simultaneous launch in late 2018 of the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom was huge news in the industry. In 2020 they launched the revolutionary Mavic Mini, packing high-quality drone features into a tiny drone that weighs only a half-pound.
Although Parrot stepped away from the toy drone market in 2019, they still produce one of the best drones on the market. Their ANAFI camera drone is always a favorite in lists around the web. Parrot also designs, develops, and markets consumer products for smartphones and tablets other than consumer UAVs and drones. They are also working with the U.S. Department of Defense to build short-range military reconnaissance aircraft.
Yuneec first started innovating in the aircraft industry before creating the first commercially successful, ready-to-fly fixed-wing RC airplane. Eventually, they transitioned into their increasingly popular aerial video quadcopters. In early 2017 they announced the launch of the Typhoon H520, designed specifically for commercial applications, as well as a huge customer service initiative to provide high-quality service. In 2018, adding to their list of first, they launched the first-ever voice-controlled drone, Mantis Q.
Autel Robotics has been a top drone manufacturer for years, delivering solutions for new aerial exploration through their market-leading quadcopter and camera drone technology. They emphasize transforming complex technology into simple solutions, and creating easy-to-use aerial devices for photography/filming and imaging.
Skydio was founded in 2014, and in 2018 launched R1, which was widely regarded as a breakthrough in autonomous drones for consumers and as a platform for commercial development. In 2019, the company launched Skydio 2, which sold out in a single day. Skydio 2 is built around the Skydio Autonomy Engine—the most advanced flying artificial intelligence system in the world.
Insitu runs the gamut of drone services, providing hardware in the form of commercial-focused drones; software for extracting intelligence from raw data gathered by drones; and drone-related services for commercial applications, such as surveying and reconnaissance. Their ScanEagle drone was designed for aerial imaging, with diverse applications such as agricultural assessment, oil or gas pipeline inspection, and force protection.
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Delair is a leading drone manufacturer of drone-based solutions for enterprise clients. The company’s offerings combine high performance, long range fixed-wing UAV hardware with sophisticated analytics technology and operational services. They’re well known for their fixed-wing drones, such as the UX11, but Delair doesn’t only make drones. They also offer a full suite of industry-specific analytics software for aerial data processing as well as intuitive flight planning tools. Their end-to-end solutions are used globally by customers in industries such as mining, construction, agriculture, utilities, transportation, and oil and gas.
EHANG is a drone company that designs and manufactures drones that can be controlled entirely via a smartphone app. Their GhostDrone 2.0 has some great features such as self-protection, which makes it automatically return in case of low battery or lost communication; dual sensors, so that a backup kicks in if the first sensor fails; and app control, designed so that “smart algorithms” kick in to reduce human error during flight. EHang continues to explore the boundaries of the sky with their pilotless air taxi, the EHang 216, which seats two passengers. The EHang 216 made its first U.S. trial flight in early 2020.
senseFly is a Parrot-owned drone company founded in 2009 by a team of robotics researchers, and is an industry leader in mapping drones. Their data collection and processing tools are employed by customers around the world in fields such as surveying, agriculture, GIS, industrial inspection, mining, and humanitarian aid.
Freefly is the inventor of the Movi Gimbal Stabilizer, and they’ve also been responsible for pulling surfers via drones (coolness factor through the roof for that!). In 2015 they unveiled their new, highly professional drone, the Freefly ALTA, which has been so popular that the Alta has become synonymous with Freefly, and is commonly used interchangeably with the company’s name.
Flyability created Elios, the world’s first collision-tolerant flying robot capable of remaining stable after contact, safe to fly close to people, and developed specifically for industrial inspection professionals. Their collision-tolerant system allows, for the first time, safe and easy access to places out of reach of current drone systems. In 2015 Flyability won the UAE Drones for Good Award, which came with a whopping $1M prize!
Draganfly Innovations hand-makes their systems in North America. They produce drone systems that specialize in public safety applications, aerial photography, industrial inspection, and education/research.
FLIR is a company that brings innovative sensing solutions into daily life for drones through thermal imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, locator systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and advanced heat detection systems. FLIR’s imaging solutions are not limited just to use on drones.
Workswell creates state-of-the-art thermal imaging systems designed for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles. The Workswell WIRIS 2nd gen thermal imaging system allows for real-time sensor control via a standard RC radio transmitter that communicates directly with the drone.
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Cheerson is an extremely popular drone manufacturer. They developed the Cheerson CX-10, the smallest quadcopter to date and a top seller on Amazon, also featured on our list of cheap drones for beginners.
Syma Toys is a China-based company that manufactures consumer drones, quadcopters, helicopters, and even an RC car/quadcopter hybrid. Their X5C is featured on our list of cheap drones for beginners, and is a great starter drone for new pilots who want to learn how to fly a quadcopter.
Follow Syma Toys: Website
Sky Viper creates drone for aerial video, racing, and general recreation (as indicated on their website, where one of their taglines is “Serious Performance. Serious Fun.”). Sky Viper has a flight simulation app (in Google Play and the Apple Store) for those pilots interested in buying their drones but want to learn a little more about how the drone might handle, which is pretty neat.
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AguaDrone is a drone company that makes fully modular waterproof drones with quick-change accessory systems and an entire family of accessories that include: Find Pod, a wifi-enabled sonar fish finder that sends images to your smartphone or handheld device; Fish Pod, a remotely controlled payload release that can carry your bait and line and drop it where the fish are; OS Pod, an open-source pod that allows users to quickly and easily attach their own device, providing a connection with the battery and receiver; a 360-degree waterproof camera; and gimbals for the 360-degree camera and a GoPro. AguaDrone is predominantly used for fishing, but its unofficial slogan is “the Swiss Army knife of drones.”
Embention is an international UAS company founded in 2007 and focused on components and critical systems. Its main product is the “Veronte Autopilot”, which is also available in a triple-redundant version and is ITAR free. Embention also designs and manufactures high-quality customized UAVs.
Gryphon Dynamics is known for making big, high end drones for cinematography and industrial applications.
Gryphon Sensors is one of the world’s leaders in intelligent drone detection and safe UAS integration. They launched Skylight, one of the first UTMs (Unmanned Traffic Management systems), in 2017 to help with drone traffic management and BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) flights.
Follow Gryphon Sensors: Twitter
Fat Shark is one of the leading manufacturers of goggles, cameras, and accessories for FPV racing.
BFD Systems was launched in 2017, and the company hit the ground running. They make custom big rigs for high-end applications. They are experts in the R&D and payload integration elements of custom drones.
Follow BFD Systems: Facebook
Atlas Dynamics makes end-to-end solutions in the drone industry and works to simplify technology to make it more user-friendly. They launched their Nest in 2019, a charging station that enables drone automation by providing a place for a drone to charge before automatically deploying on a programmed mission.
SicDrone is a drone manufacturer that creates drones designed for maximum flight efficiency, and works in government, security and agriculture applications.
Airspace is a drone security solution capable of identifying, tracking, and autonomously removing rogue drones from the sky. Their hardware and software were built specifically for this type of work and help keep airspace safe.
Follow Airspace: Twitter
SkySpecs created Guardian, a drone that avoids obstacles, in 2015. Today they use their hardware and software solutions primarily to automate and analyze wind farms. Their solutions include analytics, wind turbine blade expertise, engineering projects, collaborative software to manage and analyze data from multiple sources, digitization of data, planning, and consultation on high-cost repair campaigns.
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Dedrone created a piece of drone tracking technology called the DroneTracker, which uses multiple parameters, such as noise, shape, and movement patterns, to help guard against spying, smuggling, potential terrorist attacks, and invasions of personal privacy.
SparrowHawk by Search Systems is an anti-drone system designed to attach to a drone that deploys a net to capture rogue drones in mid-air.
Follow Search Systems: Twitter
Skyfish is an autonomous drone system for precise data collection and measuring and inspecting critical infrastructure. How? By developing the world’s first onboard computing, navigation, and open sensor platform for commercial drones. Powerful inflight processing intelligence solves engineering-grade field challenges to get the best results for surveys, measurements, inspections, and 3D modeling. According to their customers, Skyfish is making the most accurate 3D aerial models available today, using Bentley Systems and getting inspection results to the relative accuracy of 1/32″ for cell towers. Skyfish is proudly made in the USA.
Wingtra is a leading VTOL drone producer for mapping, survey, and mining industry professionals. Their WingtraOne drone takes off and lands like a multicopter, but flies in the air as a fixed-wing aircraft. This technology eliminates the risk of damaging the aircraft while landing, lets the drone carry heavier and thus better sensors and still allows mapping of large areas. Since its market entry in early 2017, Wingtra has partnered with more than 50 of the biggest equipment dealers and has been selling mapping drones globally ever since.
Azur Drones is a European leader in surveillance UAVs. Pioneer of drone-in-a-box systems, the company has developed a fully autonomous drone solution for safety and security applications, even in the most sensitive and complex environments. Skeyetech system is the first autonomous drone in Europe approved by the authorities to fly beyond visual line of sight.
Planck Aerosystems designs and builds autonomous unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for mobile applications. By using advanced ship-launched aircraft coupled with cutting edge imaging payload, proprietary software, and intuitive user interfaces, the Planck UAS locates, identifies, and tracks all contacts of interest, customized to customer needs. They’ve worked with the FAA and the City of San Diego as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program.
Vayu Aerospace Corporation (Formerly Impossible Aerospace) is an American drone manufacturer dedicated to designing and building performance unmanned aircraft for sensitive government and enterprise customers. Their drone, the US-1, is engineered with features to serve law enforcement, firefighting, disaster response, critical infrastructure, border security, and other long-duration, heavy-lift applications.
Parazero is the first company to have an ASTM F3322-18 compliant drone parachute system for the DJI Mavic 2 and Phantom 4 series. Their parachute system has allowed public safety departments, construction companies, and sUAS professionals across many different verticals to expand operations safely in compliance with the FAA regs. The use of a drone parachute can increase your likelihood of being approved for operations over people. In 2019, ParaZero achieved 40 approved waivers for flights over people.
Percepto offers a market-leading autonomous drone solution for critical infrastructure and industrial applications. Percepto’s autonomous drone “in-a-box” enables the continuous surveillance and digitization of assets and security at industrial sites around the globe.
To read up on recent drone news, you can check out our own UAV Coach News page. We’d like to highlight these drone industry news companies on our Top 100 Drone Companies list as well.
While there are several mainstream news outlets that occasionally write about major news in the drone industry, there are also several devoted drone news outlets that primarily cover news about the drone industry.
Strictly speaking, these drone brands are not drone companies in the sense that they don’t make drones or drone accessories. But they are an important part of the drone ecosystem, serving the purpose not only of reporting on breaking news stories in the drone industry but also of dissecting major events, product releases, and technological developments and helping explain them to a broader audience.
The Drone Girl is a drone-focused news site run by reporter Sally French, a regular contributor to MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal, among several other news sites. The Drone Girl was created with the intent of exploring drones and how they can assist the world via the imagery they produce and is an outlet to publish aerial photos, videos, and stories about the evolution of drones.
The FAA regularly updates it’s website and sends out a newsletter with the latest information about drone regulations and related news. To subscribe to their drone-related newsletter, go to their drone-focused webpage and click the envelope icon with the plus sign on the upper right-hand corner of the page.
DroneLife provides the latest drone news, product releases, YouTube videos and legal precedents to help drone enthusiasts and professionals stay informed about everything related to drones.
Drone Industry Insights is a drone industry research group that publishes reports, infographics, and white papers. Democratizing drone market intelligence, current trends, and future potential is at the core of their philosophy. They also provide consulting services and custom drone market studies to provide business intelligence for their clients.
Women and Drones shares stories about women in the drone industry, and works to raise the profile and visibility of women in the UAS industry. Every year they award and recognize leading women in the industry on their Women to Watch in UAS list.
sUAS News is one of the leading sources for news and information in the drone industry. sUAS News was started by UAS pilots and professionals in 2008 (which is a lifetime ago in the fast-moving world of drones, and shows a good deal of forethought).
DroneDJ is a breaking news resource for new drone product launches. They cover brands such as DJI, Yuneec, GoPro, Ryze, Parrot, Workhorse, Volcopter, and others in great detail.
Some insurance companies offer drone insurance—but there are also companies devoted to drone insurance.
For this section, we’ve included only the top three drone insurance providers on the market.
Skywatch is an on-demand drone insurance provider that offers hourly, monthly, and annual plans with a wide range of coverage. The easy-to-use app makes getting insurance a breeze every time. Their mission is to create innovative, easy-to-use tools that empower drone operators to fly safely, manage their flights seamlessly, and make sure they are insured at a reasonable price.
Thimble offers on-demand liability insurance for commercial and recreational drone flights. They offer up to $10 million in liability insurance and everything is app-based, allowing anyone to quickly get drone insurance in an instant.
DroneInsurance.com runs on REIN, an insurtech platform designed for new insurance products and built for speed, scalability, and distribution. DroneInsurance.com was designed to empower users to manage their drone insurance needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Drone brands that make flight operations management tools provide software for tracking, storing, sharing, and analyzing flights and flight data, including tools for team collaboration.
These tools are crucial for drone service companies, internal drone programs, and drone pilots running their own businesses, as they help you plan and manage your flights more efficiently and safely. Types of data collected and stored by these platforms includes information about the drone’s flight status, including real-time data on the drone’s location, altitude, speed, and battery level.
Flight operations management tools are also crucial for planning and scheduling flights, helping drone pilots to create flight plans that take into account factors such as weather conditions, airspace restrictions, and flight duration.
Another key benefit of these tools is the ability to monitor drone ops in real-time, allowing pilots and other stakeholders to track their drones’ progress during a mission to ensure they stay within their designated flight path and avoid potential hazards. Real-time monitoring lets pilots quickly respond to any issues or emergencies that may arise during flight, such as battery failure or a loss of GPS signal.
To learn more about flight ops management tools, make sure to check out our free Drone Pilot’s Guide to Flight Operations Management Tools over at Drone Pilot Ground School.
Airspace Link offers safer, scalable drone solutions for pilots, communities and businesses. Airspace Link has developed products and services to support where the industry regulations allow drone operations today through the full foundation for advanced drone integration.
Aloft (formerly Kittyhawk.io) is a one-stop-shop for flying, logging, and coordinating UAV operations. They have a strong focus on providing value for their pilots, which manifests in the usability of their platform and the fact that they allow for unlimited logging of hours.
Drone Logbook provides operations and compliance software UAV Pilots. They focus on automating workflow by supporting the importation of more than 70 different UAV log file types. The platform also provides fleet/equipment management, detailed inspection/maintenance, custom documents/reporting and more. They also provide white label versions for large enterprise operations with enhanced administrative functionality.
Altitude Angel is an aviation technology company enabling the safe integration and use of fully autonomous drones into global airspace. Their cloud platform supports both U-Space and UTM, and delivers market-leading services to drone operators, manufacturers and software developers. In 2019, DJI, the world’s top civilian drones manufacturer, chose Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM platform to provide drone safety data in 32 European countries. The platform offers real-time airspace, environmental, and regulatory data which is expertly customized to the specific operation.
Iris Automation has built an AI-based collision avoidance system that helps drones see the world how pilots do. The Iris Automation Casia system is a turnkey solution that detects, tracks and classifies other aircraft and makes intelligent decisions about the threat they may pose to the vehicle, and triggers automated maneuvers to avoid collisions. Iris is a key partner on multiple FAA UAS Integration Pilot Programs, a participant of NASA’s Unmanned Traffic Management program and a participant of Transport Canada’s BVLOS Technology Demonstration Program.
Drone software companies that make mapping and data-processing tools enable drone pilots to use all the data gathered by their drones.
As drones become go-to resources for industrial operations, the platforms that drone software companies make have become essential. These tools enable drone operators to generate highly detailed and accurate maps and models of landscapes, buildings, and infrastructure, which can be used for a variety of purposes.
One of the key benefits of mapping and data-processing tools in the drone industry is the ability to generate highly detailed 3D maps of landscapes and buildings. These maps are being used in a variety of industries, from construction, to agriculture, to urban planning.
Drone software companies are also making data-processing tools that are critical for processing and analyzing the vast amounts of data drones collect. Drones are equipped with a variety of sensors and cameras that can capture data on everything from temperature and humidity to topography and vegetation, and this data can be processed and analyzed using specialized software to generate insights and inform decision-making.
To learn more about software for mapping with drones, check out our free Beginner’s Guide to Drone Mapping Software over at Drone Pilot Ground School.
3DR was founded in 2009 and is a pioneer in the drone industry. They make Site Scan, a complete drone platform that’s built specifically for construction and engineering teams. With Site Scan, users can fly with both 3DR and DJI drones, create and view high-res 2D maps and 3D models, scale drone operations across the enterprise, and use the data in Autodesk and GIS tools.
PrecisionHawk is a leading provider of drone technology for the enterprise. They provide user-friendly data collection tools to collect and process high-quality data. PrecisionHawk offers everything from data processing to 3D terrain mapping. Check out their mapping/modeling/inspection software PrecisionAnalytics that uses AI to help enterprises better utilize data collected by drones to solve business challenges. To date, PrecisionHawk has raised more than $100 million from leading venture capital firms including Third Point Ventures and Millennium Technology Value Partners, with strategic investments from enterprise customers and partners including Comcast Ventures, DuPont, Intel Capital, NTT Docomo, and Yamaha Motor.
DroneDeploy offers powerful cloud-based drone software that’s compatible with any drone. It allows you to map and create 3D models and analyze and share the data right from your device.
Skycatch’s mission is to “capture the world’s data and create visual intelligence to help people operate faster, safer, and smarter than ever before.” They provide actionable data using UAVs to help construction managers and engineers fine tune their operations.
Pix4D is a commercial leader in photogrammetry software. Founded in 2011 with years of scientific research, Pix4D software uses images taken by hand, drone, or plane and creates customizable results that complement a wide range of applications and software.
AgEagle provides software to help people provide drone services in the agricultural sector. They are singularly focused on agriculture, with the goal of helping farmers increase yields and maximize the bottom line while reducing their environmental footprint. Their core business is making data processing software to analyze drone-collected agricultural images.
Pixpro is a software for smart, simple and safe surveying providing fast data-driven insights to support your business in effective way.
SLANTRANGE produces accurate, calibrated, multispectral sensors and an advanced analytics suite for drone-based imaging in agriculture. Their unique approach allows users to fly at only 20% overlap, process imagery in ~10 minutes after landing without a network connection, and produces a unique set of data products that go well beyond NDVI, such as true plant counts, weed maps, canopy closure, yield potential, and custom spectral filters with Smart Detection.
Esri is responsible for building ArcGIS, one of the most powerful mapping softwares in the world. ArcGIS connects people with maps, data, and apps through geographic information systems (GIS). It is a location platform that’s accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Esri software is used in a variety of applications, from Fortune 500 companies, to national and local governments, to public utilities and tech startups.
Maps Made Easy creates software that allows drone pilots to make their own maps with accurate, high-resolution imagery that they control. Their mapping software includes features such as 3D stitching, which is piecing together different images and data points to create a single 3D map; stockpile volume measurement, which allows users to measure and track stockpile volumes through their web browser using only aerial images; and the only web-based georeferencing tool, which aligns images to known points on the ground.
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Drone Harmony was founded in 2016 and set out to tackle the mathematical and engineering challenges of enabling cost-effective deployment of drone technology in industries where existing technologies were unable to deliver. Their 3D data capture platform consists of mobile and web applications and a cloud service, all fully integrated. It is designed for easy incorporations into the enterprises’ infrastructure workflow and supports off-the-shelf, widely available drones, making it globally deployable.
Avision is a leading provider of airspace and flight management technology for the global drone industry. The company is an FAA-approved USS (UAS service supplier) for LAANC (low altitude authorization and notification capability) powering real-time digital flight authorizations in controlled airspace. In partnership with NASA, Avision UTM (unmanned traffic management) system enables advanced air mobility. For more information visit www.avision.io
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Datumate is a data analytics company for construction applications. They create fully automated, high precision, cost-effective solutions that help keep construction crews safe on the job.
GeoCue Group creates tools for kinematic LIDAR data production. Their workflow management tools are used by a majority of North American geospatial production shops.
Bentley is the creator of ContextCapture, which allows users to produce large and challenging 3D models that incorporate complex real-world conditions, including scales as large as entire cities, from simple photographs or point clouds, in order to easily and quickly provide context for design, construction, and operations decisions for all types of infrastructure projects throughout the world.
Raptor Maps offers an advanced software platform to standardize data, analyze insights and collaborate across solar. Commissioning info, serial number mapping, equipment records, inspections, aerial thermography, warranty claims, mobile tools and more — all powered by our industry-leading data model. Intelligence for the entire solar industry — asset owners, managers, O&M, engineers, EPCs, financiers and OEMs. Standardize and compare data across installations, increase performance and reduce costs.
Gamaya uses hyperspectral imaging technology to help farmers get better and more accurate data. Hyperspectral imaging is 10x more powerful than the standard multispectral technique used by the vast majority of drones in the ag drone startup world.
Trimble Stratus is a drone data platform that helps aggregates operations use drones to map, measure, and share accurate information about their worksites and assets. Some applications included topographic surveys, volumetric calculations, and site measurement. The drone platform is one of the best for use on construction sites, since Trimble has been serving the construction industry with workflow solutions since 1978. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and launched Stratus in 2017.
Drone service companies are companies that provide different kinds of drone services to clients. There are lots of small drone service companies in the U.S.—a single drone pilot working on their own would be considered a drone service company, even if their list of clients is relatively small.
But there are also large marketplaces where drone pilots can find work doing a variety of drone services. These marketplaces serve as a kind of Uber for drone pilots, providing them a single place where they can go to find work.
In this section, we’ve only included the top three marketplaces and databases in the drone industry to cover drone service companies.
If you’re a U.S.-based drone pilot looking for work, make sure to visit our full list of drone pilot directories and networks at Drone Pilot Ground School to help with your search. Also, take a look at our in-depth guide to drone jobs to learn more about the types of work you can find in the drone industry.
Zeitview (formally DroneBase) is a drone service company that uses AI and machine learning to analyze large amounts of visual data to provide objective insights to customers. You can easily monitor the progress of construction projects, do roof inspections, and more with Zeitview Insights.
Measure is a drone service company that was founded to help businesses avoid the operating risk and capital expense associated with running one’s own internal drone operations. Measure offers cost-effective mapping and aerial imaging solutions for customers worldwide.
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DroneUp is a drone service company that provides end-to-end aerial data solutions by matching your requirements with drone pilot services. Their patent-pending, in-app platform locates, qualifies & deploys single pilot or multi-pilot crews to your job for efficient, safe and reliable deliverables.
Many drone companies are startups, which means they rely on funders to stay open. Some drone companies have only gone through a few rounds of funding while others, like Skydio, have completed several series of funding rounds.
In this section of drone companies, we’ve listed the top funders that invest in or provide funding for other drone companies.
SkyFund is a venture capital firm that invests in drone companies. They’re backed by DJI and Accel, and fund UAV entrepreneurs across a variety of application, hardware, peripheral and services categories.
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GENIUS NY is a year-long business accelerator that awards six finalist teams a total of $3 million in investments. In addition, the program offers company stipends, housing, resources, programming, and connections, making it the largest competitions of its kind across the globe.
Starburst offers mentoring and access to the largest aerospace and aviation stakeholder group to get drone startups ready for Series A fundraising.
Drone companies that do delivery by drone have grown their programs considerably over the last few years. This growth has been enabled in part by the FAA’s Part 135 certification, which gives drone companies a path to be recognized as small airlines, allowing them to conduct drone delivery flights BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) and over people.
In fact, according to the FAA, “Part 135 certification is the only path for small drones to carry the property of another for compensation beyond visual line of sight.”
However, there are still plenty of drone companies making deliveries without a Part 135, including some of the biggest players in the U.S., like Flytrex and DroneUp. Keep reading to see the top drone delivery companies working today.
Zipline uses drones to provide medical equipment and services to remote areas. They partnered with the government of Rwanda in 2016 to deliver blood and other much-needed supplies to rural villages. In 2018, they worked with the Rwanda government to establish plans to build a drone assembly plant in Rwanda. In 2019, the company launched the largest drone delivery network in the world with the addition of Ghana as a service location. And in 2022, they became the fourth company to secure a Part 135 certificate, allowing them to expand their drone delivery operations further within the U.S.
Flytrex is an Israel-based drone company that’s created the first cloud-connected drone designed for deliveries, as well as a platform to enable drone deliveries aimed at delivery companies or large retailers that want to make deliveries via drones. They are also developing drone hardware tailored for point-to-point or point-to-area delivery.
Matternet is a UAV manufacturer that builds world-class flying vehicles and intelligent software. They developed the Matternet One, the first smart drone made exclusively for transportation. In 2016 Matternet partnered with Mercedes-Benz “to create the integrated delivery solution that will transform how people receive lightweight goods on demand.”
Amazon is not only one of the premier online drone retailers, they’ve also been working for several years on a drone delivery system—Amazon PrimeAir. The PrimeAir service is designed to “safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles.” Although we wrote a post about their first test delivery in late 2016, it looks like it will still be years before they’re fully operational. In 2020, Amazon Prime Air was the third company to secure a Part 135 certificate.
Flirtey is the first U.S.-approved drone delivery company (although that approval was issued by waiver—Flirtey does not hold a Part 135 certificate). Flirtey is interested in working with companies in time-sensitive last-mile logistics; including online retail, fast food, letters and parcels, urgent medical delivery, and so on. They unveiled their new delivery drone, the Flirtey Eagle, in 2019.
Follow Flirtey: Twitter
Project Wing is a drone delivery company started by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. In 2017 they launched a delivery program in Australia that carried burritos and other food to remote regions. Wing is leading the charge on U.S. drone deliveries, gaining approval from the FAA as a certified air carrier and partnering with FedEx and Walgreens to deliver goods to U.S. homes. In 2019, Wing became the first drone company ever to secure a Part 135 certificate for drone delivery.
UPS Flight Forward was launched as a subsidiary of UPS in 2019. The FAA issued Flight Forward a Part 135 certification, which gives them permission to operate a “drone airline.” Part 135 certification is the same certification smaller airlines, such as charter airlines, receive from the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to operate. In 2019, Flight Forward became the second drone company ever to secure a Part 135 certificate for drone delivery, receiving it shortly after Wing.
Drone racing has gone mainstream over the last few years, securing millions of views and prime time spots on television.
Despite the sport’s popularity, there are still only a handful of drone companies hosting drone races. We’ve listed the three primary contenders in the space below.
Although the list of drone racing organizations is growing as the sport gains popularity, the three primary contenders in the space right now are the ones listed below.
Want to get into FPV acing? Check out our guide to the top FPV racing drones and accessories.
The Drone Racing League “wants to be to drones what the WWE is to wrestling,” as Vice Magazine puts it. The Drone Racing League organizes and promotes drone racing around the U.S. and the world. Check out the DRL racing simulator to see if you might be able to make the cut and be one of their newest pilots.
DR1 hosts drone races throughout the world. In 2017 they were the first drone racing organization to hose a drone race live on broadcast television—the race appeared on CBS News.
MultiGP hosts an annual drone racing championship series in the U.S., and they also have local chapters all over the country where drone pilots can organize their own races. See all their chapters here.
Drone conferences took a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inability for people to travel or be in confined spaces meant that in-person events had to be put on hold, and drone companies weren’t allowed to showcase their newest releases or host product launches live.
But since the pandemic has waned, drone companies and drone enthusiasts have been flocking back to drone conferences and events.
Here are the biggest and best conferences in the drone industry for drone service providers and drone manufacturers.
Commercial UAV Expo is one of North America’s leading tradeshows for the commercial drone market. It features eight distinct commercial tracks for different industrial applications, as well as an international exhibition hall attended by drone manufacturers from around the world.
InterDrone is one of the biggest drone conferences in the world, and it’s growing every year. In 2017 they won an award for being one of the fastest-growing conferences in any industry. The conference features workshops, panels, sessions, industry keynotes, special events, and a huge exhibition hall.
XPONENTIAL is the leading annual gathering for global leaders and end users of uncrewed technologies. Founded on a belief that cross-pollination drives innovation, it’s the only event designed to advance the entire autonomy ecosystem. Each year, we welcome thousands of the industry’s top minds to cultivate collaboration, spark new ideas, and this year, build the blueprint for autonomy. XPONENTIAL is a catalyst – helping each attendee transform their vision into real opportunities.
Join us May 8-11 in Denver, CO. Register and learn more at: https://www.xponential.org
The New York City Drone Film Festival (NYCDFF) is one of the premier venues for the top drone videos created in the world. In addition to showcasing high-quality drone videos in various categories, the event features panels and talks by industry leaders. NYCDFF has been happening since 2015, and every year it grows in size and quality.
The Boston Drone Film Festival is an international film festival that celebrates the creative pursuits and achievements of drone filmmakers, photographers and 360/VR creatives. It took place for the first time in Nov. 2019, showcasing some amazing creative aerial videography and photography.
Aerial Evolution Association of Canada was founded in 2003, and it is a national Canadian association that represents, supports, and promotes innovation and capabilities in Canada’s Unmanned Systems industry and community.
Education is a crucial part of the drone ecosystem, providing the drone pilots of tomorrow with the training they need to begin their careers, and helping ensure safety in drone operations.
Below we’ve listed the top drone companies that provide education about drones, as well as companies providing education with drones.
To learn more about opportunities to advance your drone knowledge and prepare for the FAA’s Part 107 test, check out our online prep course Drone Pilot Ground School.
DroneBlocks is a drone company that provides everything needed (curriculum, support, etc.) for educators to quickly launch a drone-based STEM program. They combine curriculum with a user friendly iPad app, and layer it on top of best in class drones. The result is a scalable end-to-end solution for a project based learning environment. DroneBlocks empowers STEM leaders to educate in the context of unprecedented engagement.
The Zephyr simulator by Little Arms Studios is one of the best simulators out there for learning how to fly a drone. The Zephyr has been out since 2016 when it was launched at InterDrone’s annual conference.
Follow Little Arms Studios: YouTube
PCS Edventures is working to instill a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in students all over the globe, using drones and other technology to support their efforts. Edventures creates materials that allow learners to develop the foundations of scientific inquiry, engineering design principles, and spatial mathematical awareness while also exercising problem-solving, communication, reflection and collaboration skills.
OnPoynt makes it easy for educational organizations to access innovative drone technology to hands-on build, fly and learn. Established in 2012, OnPoynt is the nation’s leading supplier of drone technology for education. If you can’t find the right kit for you school or educational program, OnPoynt can prepare a custom solution.
Follow OnPoynt: Twitter
Droneport Texas is focused on creating supportive environments and improving opportunities for success in the Lone Star state. Their activities include engaging with local and state governments, educating first responder agencies, involving local and national media, coordinating with the various enterprises within the FAA, and creating pro-drone industrial areas. All-day flying events and drone department development trainings are a few of the ways Droneport supports their local drone community. We hope to see more companies of this sort spring up across other states to support their local drone scene.
Follow Droneport Texas: YouTube
AeroSIM RC was the first simulator to implement a multirotor simulation back in 2009. Since then, they have been incorporating training programs, gimbal and camera operation, flight modes, OSD, scenarios, etc. AeroSIM RC is widely used in training schools.
That’s all folks!
Thank you for checking out our list of drone companies to watch in 2023.
Hopefully you found some interesting businesses to follow, and learned a little more about ones you already knew.
And if your company was featured, congratulations on your success! Keep up the good work as we all continue to push the UAV community and industry forward.
What do you think of this list? Any drone companies you would like to see that weren’t featured?
Shoot us an email at email@example.com to let us know.