The drone industry has grown tremendously over the past 2 decades. While drone technology has existed for almost a century, commercial and consumer drones have only become popular in the last ten years. Now, there are thousands of companies specializing in all aspects of drones. So, which are the top 100 drone companies?
DJI, Yuneec, Parrot SA, Autel Robotics, and Hubsan are the most popular drone manufacturing companies. But there are many other companies offering drone parts, counter-drone systems, news, organizing drone races, offering insurance, and others providing drone-related services.
Please keep reading to learn more about the Drone Industry’s top companies and what to expect from them.
We will categorize the top 100 drone companies based on their specialization:
- Counter Drone
- Service Providers
DJI is probably the most recognizable brand in the drone industry. Founded by Frank Wang in 2006, DJI has grown to occupy more than 60% of the drone market. It existed even before consumer drones became popular.
DJI’s first drones were the Phantom drones. But the drones that have made them more popular than ever are the Mavic series, including the Mavic Minis. One of the reasons DJI keeps growing is they are constantly updating and improving their hardware and software.
They are the pioneers of a wide range of technologies, including OcuSync, and AeroScope, among others. If there’s one company that we should watch out for in the drone industry in the next couple of years, it’s DJI.
Yuneec joined the RC world by manufacturing fixed-wing RC aircraft. They later transitioned to building quadcopters and have become quite good at it. Yuneec drones are pretty large, featuring 6 to 8 propellers instead of the usual four propellers. Their drones are primarily used for commercial applications such as photography, inspection, and firefighting.
Their most common models are the Breeze and the Typhoon drones, but they have many other drone models. Their notable tech includes the voice control in their Mantis Q drones and the Intel RealSense Visioning system, an advanced form of obstacle avoidance.
Parrot SA is a French company specialized in manufacturing wireless devices, including drones, chipsets, and robots. Their most notable drones are the Anafi and the Bebop drones.
However, in 2019, Parrot announced their exit from the toy drone market, a market that was and still is dominated by DJI.
Today, they are more focused on manufacturing commercial drones, and military drones, having signed a contract with the US Military to manufacture spy drones (link). Most of their toy drones are discontinued, but you can get used ones from resellers.
Autel Robotics is a fast-growing company in the UAV industry and a direct competitor to DJI. Autel Robotics and DJI drones are often pitted against each other due to their similarities in technology. Autel Robotics was released in 2012, and while they have not released very many drones, the models already in the market, the EVO series, look especially promising.
Hubsan is a popular drone company specializing in toy drones. Their drones may not be as high-quality as the DJI drones, but they offer excellent cheap entry-level drones. For less than $200, you can get an above-average Hubsan drone with a good camera, amazing flight times, and excellent build quality. Some of their notable drone models include;
- Hubsan H109S X4 Pro
- Hubsan X4 H107D+
- Hubsan H501S
This is another reputable RC devices manufacturer, manufacturing both quadcopters, helicopters, and RC vehicles. For more than a decade, they have been coming up with innovations to make the flying experience of beginners and kids easier and better.
This US-based drone manufacturer has been around since 2014 and has achieved great success. It was started by Abe Bachrach and Adam Bry, both experienced engineers who contributed to Google’s Wing program.
Skydio’s goal was to build autonomous drones, which is evident in their drone models and other projects in which Abe and Bry participated. Their first drone was the Model R1, but the drone that propelled them to stardom was the Skydio 2. Skydio is also currently the first US-based drone company to be valued at $1 Billion (link).
Formerly owned by Parrot SA, SenseFly is a high-end drone manufacturer specializing in providing solutions for survey and mapping. AgEagle currently owns SenseFly, and they have continued their mission to manufacture drones for mapping.
A good example is the eBee series, a product line of fixed-wing drones with flight times of up to 90 minutes, coverage of up to 1200 acres at 400 ft altitude, RTK capabilities, and GNSS BaseStations, among other advanced features.
Owned by The Boeing Company, one of the largest manned aircraft manufacturers, INSITU is a subsidiary that specializes in unmanned aircraft. They manufacture powerful UAVs with applications in reconnaissance, survey, and military applications.
Examples of their drones include the ScanEagle, a gas-powered aerial imaging drone. This drone is designed to withstand at least 18 hours in flight and carry a payload weighing up to 11 lbs.
UVify may not be a popular drone brand, but they are well-known in the drone racing sector.
This is thanks to their award-winning Draco racing drone series, a small, lightweight drone with a top speed of up to 100 mph, an ergonomic design, autonomous capabilities, and a 7-minute flight-time, which is great for a racing drone.
Other popular drones from UVify include the OOri, a beginner-level drone, and the IFO, a series of drones that you can use to set up a light show. While they have not been on the drone scene for long, their drones show they know what they’re doing.
Force1 manufactures low-budget drones, RC cars, and even boats. Despite selling their products at a relatively lower price, you still get a decent camera, build quality, and some of them even qualify to be RTF racing drones. This makes them the perfect cheap entry-level drones.
One of the best Force1 drones includes the Blue Jay, which costs $80 and features a 720p camera, and up to 10 minutes of flight time.
If you’re into FPV and drone racing, you have probably come across some of Fat Shark’s products. They manufacture a wide range of FPV accessories, including headsets, goggles, cameras, and vision systems.
However, they shouldn’t be confused with Fatshark (link), a leading company in the video development field.
AirHog is one of the leading manufacturers of toy drones. While most of the companies I’ve mentioned try to balance a toy drone and a consumer drone line, AirHog drones are purely toy drones. Before buying any of them, bear in mind that they lack advanced cameras, autonomous features, or even durable builds.
They are actually made of foam and are mainly designed for having fun. At the cost of having advanced features, these drones come in various features, including inspirations from Star Trek, Batman, and Star Wars. They are also not that expensive.
Wingtra is another leading drone manufacturer specializing in advanced technology with applications in survey and GIS, mining, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and construction. Their drones utilize VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing), which allows the drone to leverage the features of both a fixed-wing drone and a quadcopter.
Fixed-wing drones are the best for surveying vast land spaces since they last a long time in the air and can cover a wide range. However, they need a runway. On the other hand, quadcopters can take off vertically, but they are pretty limited. As such, a Wingtra drone can take off as a quadcopter and fly like a fixed-wing drone.
Atlas Dynamics manufactures autonomous solutions that help enhance drone usage. Some of their notable solutions include:
- AtlasPro – This is an advanced drone designed for emergency response, survey, agriculture, and inspection applications. In 2018, the AtlasPro UAV won the Red Dot Product Design award. Some of its main features include a 32-minute flight time, high-wind resistance, and the ability to swap between two drones while in the field. AtlasPro also comes with an AtlasStation, and an advanced controller with long battery life, strong connection, and convenient interface.
- AtlasNEST – This is like a hangar for drones that charges and autonomously deploys the drones to handle various missions. It even changes the batteries. With this system, drones can collect data, and send it to the station without any input from an operator.
- AtlasRelay – This is a device designed to extend the range of the AtlasPro drone even beyond line of sight and enable live streaming from a long distance.
- Payloads – Atlas also manufactures payloads such as gimbals and sensors and a wide range of accessories to use with their drones.
Kespry provides drone-based solutions to sectors that need it, such as insurance, construction, and mining. Besides making drones, they have an AI system that helps drone users better understand the data collected by drones, and this AI can fit into any sector.
While they do manufacture drones, Kespry also integrates their system into DJI drones such as the Mavic 2 Pro and the Phantom drones. If you already know how to use these drones, then integrating them into your line of work won’t be an issue.
Freefly manufactures accessories for cinematography including gimbals, cameras, and drones. They are famous for the Movi gimbals, handheld stabilizers, gesture-controlled focus and zoom, drone surfing, and 360-degree roll gimbals. Their drones are pretty powerful too, and they include the Alta 6, Alta 8, Alta 8 Pro, and Alta X.
The Alta X can fly for up to 50 minutes on one battery and has a take-off weight of at least 77 pounds. Coupled with their advanced gimbals and cameras, you can achieve some complex shots that regular drones can’t.
GoPro is a leading manufacturer of cameras, gimbals, and other photography accessories that can be handheld or mounted on drones. They did try their hand at making drones and introduced the Karma drone. However, this drone failed due to a technical glitch, and they had to ground it.
But GoPro is still thriving in the accessories business, with many drones now being manufactured to be compatible with their accessories. These include the Mavic Air 2, DROCON Bugs 3, and the Holy Stone HS7600D.
Holy Stone manufactures a wide range of drones, from toy drones perfect for outdoor use to low-budget professional drones with decent cameras. Their drones are perfect for beginners who’ve never used a drone before.
But as you advance your drone career, you can always shift to more expensive and more advanced drone models or just stick to Holy Stone drones. As mentioned above, some of them are compatible with GoPro cameras which can help improve the quality of your photos and videos without having to buy another drone.
Aerialtronics is a leading commercial drones manufacturer specializing in manufacturing drones and accessories for public safety, surveying, agriculture, and inspection. They released the Altura Zenith Drone a few years ago, and it’s one of the most versatile drones in the commercial drone world.
With a 40-minute flight time, extended operating range, and payload capability, there’s a lot you can do with this drone. For instance, you can attach their Pensar device that recognizes objects and detects license plates on vehicles. It also features a dual-spectrum camera that enhances data collection to allow companies to make data-driven decisions.
Sky Viper is a renowned manufacturer of entry-level drones for racing, aerial photography, and acrobatics. Their drones are built on the ArduPilot flight controller platform, which controls most of the drone’s aspects, making it easy even for beginners to fly the drone.
Better yet, Sky Viper also has an app that allows you to try flying a drone virtually before you fly the real thing. Their most popular drone models include;
- Journey GPS drone
- Scout Video Drone
- Furry Stunt Drone
- Dash Nano Drone
While they aren’t as popular as other drone models, Cheerson is a Chinese drone company that has been around since 2003. That’s way before drones were popular. They were the first to introduce toy quadcopters, but their technology has advanced, and now they also have GPS and FPV drones.
They are still known for producing some of the tiniest drones, such as the Cheers CX10 series, the CX35, and the CX-OF.
So far, I’ve mentioned some top drone companies making toy drones, consumer drones, and commercial drones. Now, AguaDrone sets itself apart from the rest by making drones for fishing. That’s right. For starters, they equipped the drone with a Sonar Pod that allows your drone to work as a fish finder. This Sonar Pod will take images and relay them to your smartphone through WiFi.
Secondly, this drone can take off and land on water, and it features a waterproof camera, making it easy to find and film fish without damaging any of your gear. Better yet, it even has a bait release system. So, you not only find fish, but you can also lure and catch fish using the drone.
When looking for budget drones, it’s hard to ignore products from UDI RC. They manufacture a wide range of RC products, including boats, drones, and cars. Their drones are quite large thanks to the unique propeller design, but they are also some of the most affordable drones.
Workswell is a Europe-based manufacturing company specializing in thermal imaging devices for ground systems and airborne systems.
A good example is the WIRIS Pro, a thermal camera that you can attach to any compatible drone. This camera will collect data in various wavelengths, and it’s applicable in precision agriculture, pipeline inspection, and other industrial settings. Better yet, you can even customize it by reprogramming it to handle specific tasks.
Intel is one of the largest semiconductor chip manufacturers and is even behind the x86 microprocessors found in most modern PCs. What you might not know is they are behind most of the drone light shows you see in events.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, a good example is the Tokyo Olympics drone light show (link) that helped create a memorable experience. And it was designed by intel. Intel incorporates their advanced technology in building the drones and building the software that brings the light show to life.
Draganfly is another drone company that has carved a niche for itself in the innovative sensing technology industry. With over 30 years of experience, they’ve built hardware and software with applications in various sectors, from government, military, search and rescue, agriculture, to health services.
Some of their notable projects include drones that can sense an individual’s vital signs, which came in handy during the pandemic.
Their drones are also powerful enough to handle other powered payloads, such as sensors and advanced cameras, or non-powered payloads, such as delivering medical supplies and other items in inaccessible areas.
Flyability prides itself in manufacturing some of the most indestructible drones. Unlike most drones with exposed propellers or a simple propeller guard to protect them from crashing, Flyability drones have mesh around them that protects them from impact.
Coupled with advanced lighting and advanced data capture technology, these drones can be deployed in confined spaces or inaccessible spaces such as inside a pipe. Their products include the Elios Drones, range extenders for when you need to fly far from the drone, and the Inspector 3.0 software for use with the drones.
Action Drone USA is an industrial drone manufacturer that makes drones for commercial and government applications.
Their drones include the AD-VW1, a fixed-wing drone with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities, 50-minutes of flight time, a 200 Km operating range, and a payload capacity of up to 2kg.
Another model is the AD-H, a versatile hexacopter with payload capabilities of up to 7 kg. They also largely collaborate with the FAA and other stakeholders to come up with drone-based solutions.
Ambarella doesn’t manufacture drones. Instead, they manufacture accessories that can help make your drones better and more suitable for your specific application. To be precise, they develop 3D image stabilization.
Other add-ons include HDR processing, obstacle avoidance, target-tracking, improved image quality, and computer vision. And that’s not all. They also produce AI-enabled wearables, cameras, security devices, and devices to integrate with automotives.
Embention is a Spain-based drone company manufacturing UAVs to tackle real-world problems. For instance, they are leading an initiative in Ethiopia known as Drones Against Tsetse (link). This is where they use drones to introduce sterile tsetse flies in tsetse-fly infested areas. This helps prevent the further spread of tsetse flies.
They have also participated in many other projects meant to expand drone use cases in the consumer world and the military.
Delair is a fast-growing company manufacturing drones, cameras, and cellular networks. Their products are applicable in agriculture, defense, geospatial industry, and industrial applications.
A good example is the UX11 series, a series of fixed-wing drones with extended operating ranges and advanced mapping and data collection systems. They also manufacture a Hydrone, a drone that uses hydrogen instead of batteries, making it cheaper to run and making BVLOS flying even more practical.
EHang gives us a preview of how the future will look like with flying cars by being one of the first companies to develop a fully functional autonomous aerial vehicle, the EHang 216 AAV. It looks like a drone because it has several propellers, but it can also transport at least two people, and the pilot doesn’t need any advanced flying skills.
They also have other smaller drones, such as the Falcon B series, a series of autonomous drones with many valuable features for business and government enterprises, and the EHang 216F, a drone designed for firefighting.
Blade is yet another consumer drone manufacturer known for both entry-level and intermediate-level quadcopters and helicopters. They are known for their SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) that makes their drones relatively easy to fly.
The SAFE technology ensures excellent stability regardless of the lightweight designs. Blade’s drones range from toy drones that cost less than $100 to advanced drones with GLONASS and GoPro capabilities, such as the Blade Chroma.
Another unique feature of the BLADE drones is the reverse motor designs that make the drones look inverted. This design also helps enhance the drone’s stability.
TuffWing isn’t very big since they don’t have that large of an inventory. But they are worth checking out if you need a drone or accessories for mapping. They did have a UAV mapper that was discontinued, but you can still get it from resellers and get replacement parts from the company.
They also have an FPV racing drone and a PPK attachment for DJI Phantom drones. PPK is an advanced GPS that corrects after the flight, enhancing the accuracy of the data you collect.
SICDRONE took the world by storm by introducing a drone with thrust vectoring capabilities, allowing you to adjust the direction of the propellers to enhance speed or lift. This makes the drones maneuverable, despite being quite large and having a large payload capacity. And this design makes it suitable for both military and commercial applications.
SKYFISH takes drone flying and automation to a whole new level. These are drones specifically designed to inspect and collect data on towers, pipelines, turbines, and bridges.
For starters, they are large, powerful drones with several rotors, a versatile design, and flight times of up to 60 minutes. Secondly, they come with a high-quality Sony camera, but you can also attach other task-specific payloads. And most importantly, you can create a flight plan based on waypoints, and the drone will fly, capture, and create a 3D model with minimal input from you.
SKYFISH drones also use a state-of-the-art flight controller known as SKYMIND that handles obstacle avoidance, automatic take-off and landing, and all other software aspects of the drone.
This autonomous drone-in-a-box solution offers data collection drones for asset monitoring, industrial inspection, and deep insights from the data collected. Their drones are applicable in oil and gas, mining, solar and thermal energy, ports, and terminals.
Besides drones, they also provide robots for ground-based inspection and monitoring.
Azur Drones is another leading drone manufacturer in the security niche. They are behind SKEYETECH, a fully autonomous drone designed for surveillance and inspection. These drones can take off, scan a predefined area, and land, all thanks to AI.
Better yet, their system easily integrates with third-party security systems. Their solutions are dubbed “drone-in-a-box” solutions since the drones come in a box-like structure attached to the ground. This structure charges, deploys and maintains the drones.
One of the main features that limits drone usage is that you have to launch from one location and land at the same location. You can’t operate them on the move. Plank AeroSystems solves that problem by manufacturing drones that can be operated on the move, be it on vehicles, boats, or ships. Their drones don’t need a skilled pilot.
With the push of a button, you can launch and land the drone, and it will determine the best place to land. Their drones have found wide applications in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Border Patrol, and logistics companies where the users are always on the move.
ParaZero makes drone usage safe for both the users and those around them. According to the FAA rules, you shouldn’t fly your drone over people since drones pose a danger to people and property. While you can apply for a waiver, anything could happen, and your drone could end up crashing over people.
And that’s where ParaZero comes in. Some of their solutions include;
- Cut power – In case of an emergency, ParaZero will cut power to the motors. This prevents the motors from causing fatal injuries and prevents the motors from interfering with the parachute.
- Sound Alarm – In case of an emergency and the drone is crashing, it will sound an alarm to alert those around.
- Parachute – The parachute minimizes the impact, allowing the drone to land safely without being damaged and without causing any injuries.
- Black Box – This is a mini-computer that shows what might have caused the crash.
Impossible AeroSpace manufactures unique drones with extended flight times and advanced tech suitable for search and rescue missions and law enforcement. It was started by Spencer Gore, a former battery engineer at Tesla, which explains their “battery-first approach.”
They released the US-1 drone in 2018, which is more of a flying battery utilizing its system to generate power, allowing it to fly for at least 90 minutes. It’s also equipped with optical and thermal sensors and was once instrumental in a SWAT Team Capture (link).
Below are the top companies dealing in drone detection and counter systems.
Airspace Galaxy develops drone detection and response systems. These systems depend on radio signals to detect any drone activity in your area, classify the drone activity as a threat or casual usage based on AI and machine learning, and alert you through your preferred method.
Airspace products are most helpful in airports and stadiums, which are prone to malicious drone attacks.
DeDrone provides a wide range of software and hardware for drone detection and risk mitigation. These include sensors, PTZ cameras, radar systems, and a drone defender.
The DroneTracker is their most notable technology that collects data from detection systems, both from DeDrone and from third-party devices, and reports their data in real-time.
Once you determine a threat getting close to your assets, you can deploy the DroneDefender, a jamming gun that interrupts the communication between the drone and the controller. You can then take control of the drone and land it safely for further investigation.
SPARROWHAWK is a UV counter system manufactured by Search Systems. It works by deploying a net at a drone, which then deploys a parachute to ensure the drone and its payload land safely.
SPARROWHAWK can stop drones weighing up to 20 kg, and it uses an advanced targeting system to increase the chances of capturing the drone. You can use the SPARROWHAWK system alongside the Gryphon Sensors, where after detecting the drone, you deploy the counter-drone and mitigate any threats.
With the growing population of drones, there has been a demand for systems that can detect drones in an effort to mitigate any imminent danger. Gryphon Sensors sought to fill that gap by developing Mobile Skylight, a mobile drone detection system. This is a system that can detect drones flying within an altitude of 10 KM.
The fact that it’s mobile makes it applicable in sports arenas, prisons, companies with vast pieces of land, and any other area that can be targeted using drones. They also provide systems that enable flying drones BVLOS (Beyond the Visual Line of Sight), which helps increase how we can use drones.
FLIR manufactures innovative sensing and threat detection systems for law enforcement agencies, military, commercial markets, and the industrial sector. One of their most popular drones is the tiny Black Hornet, a surveillance drone used in the military.
Other drones include the Skyranger R70, ION M440, and the R800 Skyraider. Besides drones, they also manufacture sensors, maritime systems, and integrated solutions.
Now let’s look at some of the best places to get news and information about drones.
The Drone Girl is a one-stop-shop for news about drones, how they are currently being used, and what the future holds for drones. It also covers reviews and tips on how to use drones.
This website was started by Sally French, an acclaimed Journalist who has been featured on the BBC, NerdWallet, and the New York Times. She started The Drone Girl website as a simple blog to document her drone activities, but it has grown to become a top blog, and it even earned her the title of the most influential woman in the world of drones.
If you own a drone and have researched drone regulations, you have almost certainly come across the FAA. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is the regulatory body for civil aviation, which includes manned aircraft, model airplanes, and UAVs.
Since they are constantly updating the drone laws, you should subscribe to their newsletter and follow their website. They update the regulations and share news about how they are making the airspace more suitable for drone usage.
Like The Drone Girl, Drone Life is another excellent resource for drone news. Their news ranges from product releases, podcasts, YouTube videos, new companies, advancements in drone technology, and product reviews about drones. They also have a newsletter that you can sign up for and get the latest news.
DroneDJ is a drone news website with a comic twist. Watch a couple of their podcasts, and you’ll see how fun they can be as they answer questions about drones. DroneDJ is also part of 9to5 sites (link), a family of sites that review a wide range of electronics.
Women & Drones is a community of drone experts and enthusiasts seeking to inspire female participation in the drone world. They pioneer educational efforts among women and young girls, promote careers in the drone world, and award women who’ve accomplished great things in the drone industry.
Women and Drones also offer flight services, where they have a highly trained team that uses drones for data collection and analysis for both industrial and government entities.
Drone Industry Insights is a research firm that conducts studies and interviews experts about the usage of drones and publishes them on their websites. This helps show where the drone industry currently is, the direction it’s taking, and how businesses can benefit.
Some of their studies are available on their website for free, but some are available for sale either as a one-time payment or a monthly subscription. If you’re stuck when it comes to market research for your drone business, this is a website you should follow.
Inside Drones is part of Inside, a huge platform that offers the latest news in the tech world. They mostly share news about drone regulations in the form of Newsletters, videos, and podcasts.
To access unlimited news, stories, and videos, you may have to sign up to the Insider PRO, which costs at least $25 per month.
Featuring the “For drone drivers, by drone drivers” slogan, this is a news website that was started by drone pilots to share news and tips about drones. They organize podcasts, expositions, share drone jobs, and even run a Drone TV, all in an effort to share and connect with other drone users.
They also have a section called “Patrick Rants,” where Patrick Egan, an editor at the sUAS News, gets to write about his opinions about drone regulations and general drone usage.
If you want to keep tabs on the professional drone racing world, below are some top companies to check out.
The Drone Racing League is simply the WWE of the drone world. Started in 2015, the Drone Racing League brings the thrill of MotoGP into the world of drones, where experienced drone pilots race at high speeds through an obstacle course. The race also broadcasts on major sports networks such as ESPN, Sky Sports, and NBC.
Unlike some competitions where competitors build their drones, the DRL makes the drones so that all competitors are equal. The DRL is also one of the most competitive drone races. It’s pretty hard to join too. But when you do and win, you can take home thousands of dollars and create opportunities for sponsorship deals.
If you don’t make the cut to participate in a DRL race, you can still have fun in their simulation game.
MultiGP is another drone racing league that operates in several states within the United States and other parts of the world, such as South Africa, Asia, and Australia. They have chapters in these regions where drone pilots in the locality can organize their races, but the main race is organized at least once a year.
The chapters make the sport more accessible to aspiring drone races compared to the DRL.
DR1 organizes drone races and televises them on major sports networks. Unlike in DRL, where the race organizers provide the drones, in DR1, the drone pilots make and maintain their drones. The better you are at modifying and flying your drone, the more advantage you’ll have.
IUDRO organizes drone racing leagues between universities, similar to the inter-university football or basketball games. The universities act like chapters where drone enthusiasts will come together, form a team, and register at the IUDRO website, and get a chance to compete with other universities locally and internationally. There are at least 18 teams (universities) from the UK, USA, and China.
An increase in drone traffic has also increased the risk they pose to people and property. Let’s not forget that a drone is also an investment that needs to be insured. With that in mind, below are the top drone insurance companies.
SkyWatch is one of the best drone insurance companies, thanks to the flexibility it offers. Whether you need insurance for a couple of years, one year, a few months, or just one flight, they have a plan that will suit you.
The per-flight plan is convenient for those who don’t fly often, and it’s only $7. However, the per-flight plan is quite limited in coverage.
A monthly plan or annual plan is better if you fly a lot in different regions. They also have an app that you can use to monitor your plans, update them, or even plan your flights.
BWI Fly provides insurance for a wide range of aircraft, including drones. Their policies include full liability coverage, ranging from $500,000 to $25,000,000, and insurance against physical damage ranging from $800 to $500,000.
If you’re looking for comprehensive policies, expect to pay at least $475. You also have an option to customize the policies based on the nature of your business.
Thimble offers drone insurance for flight occasions rather than monthly or annual plans. If you just decided to fly your drone and need an insurance policy ASAP, you can get one from them. They give immediate proof of insurance which you can show to relevant authorities while in the field.
Thimble also has a very easy-to-use app where you enter where you need to fly to, get a quote, and once you pay, you instantly get a certificate of insurance that’s valid for up to 60 days.
If you’re hired to film a wedding or even use a drone, Avion Drone Insurance provides insurance specifically for these commercial applications. You can insure your drone and its payload, insure against liabilities and injuries caused when filming, or insure the commercial services. Better yet, you can customize the policies to your needs.
If you’re planning to travel worldwide and take your drone with you, Droneinsurance.com is a good option. That’s because it offers international coverage to most parts of the world, except for those with unique drone laws.
They also offer on-demand drone insurance for a day or a month’s use. Better yet, you can insure your drone when not flying by paying for the Base Coverage or get the flight coverage for as little as $30.
USAIG offers specific insurance types for commercial and government use cases. For instance, you can insure against war, terrorism, or the ground equipment used with the drones. Launched in 1928, USAIG has become one of the best insurance companies for both manned and unmanned aircraft.
Below are some companies that make software to use with your drones or drone data.
Esri is a leader in the surveying and GIS field. They built ArcGIS, one of the best mapping platforms for consolidating and analyzing the data you collect from the field. You can make topographic maps, mosaics, TIN models, and other data representations necessary for your field.
ArcGIS also built Drone2Map, a platform that enhances drone aerial photography, making it easier to use, and more accurate.
Pix4D makes some of the best photogrammetry hardware and software, making it easier to collect and analyze data using drones or airplanes. With over 50,000 users, Pix4D has found uses in both commercial and government sectors.
Their products include mapping and modeling software, cloud solutions, digital surveying, inspection and telecom, data capture applications, and data capture devices. Pix4D also powers the Drone2Map platform built by Esri.
3D Robotics started as a drone manufacturer. When that didn’t work out, they reentered the drone scene with drone software known as Site Scan for inspection, construction, and engineering. This software enables the drones to create 2D or 3D models of the site for further analysis using ArcGIS, AutoCAD, and other software.
Since they don’t make drones anymore, they partnered with DJI, and their software can now be integrated with DJI drones.
DroneDeploy provides data processing tools for drone pilots, engineers, businesses, and government entities in an affordable and accessible way. Their software is compatible with most drones, allowing them to collect data, consolidate it, create maps and 3D models that are shareable.
AgEagle provides both hardware and software for data collection and analysis in the precision agriculture sector. As mentioned earlier, they acquired SenseFly, an aerial UAV manufactured by Parrot SA.
They also have software that can analyze the data collected by this UAV and any other compatible drones.
Avision.io is a flight management and authorization app authorized by the FAA and NASA. If you need urgent authorization to fly in restricted airspace, you can request authorization from their app. They also provide a logbook to track your activities, 3D simulation, flight planning, real-time monitoring, weather alerts, and integration with other software.
This software is suitable for personal drone use, law enforcement, industrial inspection, public safety, and airport security.
Drone Harmony provides a one-stop-shop for data collection and analysis. This ranges from automated flight planning, mobile app, web app, and the ability to derive meaningful insights from the data collected using drones. The whole process is automated. The software knows what to look for, which minimizes any errors that may occur when operating a drone.
Airmap provides a convenient way to manage drone traffic. Also known as Airmap UTM, this platform allows drone pilots and airspace authorities to communicate. That way, drone pilots can get crucial traffic alerts, such as temporary or permanent air space closing, knowing which areas are under geofencing, and even requesting authorization to fly in restricted areas.
PrecisionHawk is another leading data processing company that leverages AI to collect and analyze drone data. Currently, they have two software packages.
PrecisionAnalytics Energy helps users analyze utilities, save money, reduce risk, and increase customer satisfaction. The other one is PrecisionAnalytics Agriculture, a software designed to analyze crop health, signs of stress, growth trends, crop yields, and other aspects of precision agriculture.
PixPro is a highly efficient drone measurement software that provides the following features:
- Detailed 3D terrains
- Photo processing tools
- Orthorectified imagery
- GCP workflow
- Advanced Data Export
- Dem Histograms
- Contour-line generation
- Profile measurements
- 2D measurements
- And many more
Their pricing starts at £10 per month.
SLANTRANGE provides sensors and analysis tools for precision agriculture. Their work involves helping breeding programs test and improve their seeds, and assisting farmers to increase their yield. They’ve partnered with top brands such as Microsoft, DJI, Syngenta, AgReliant Genetics, BASF, and BAYER, which shows their insights work.
As the name suggests, this is a web app that allows drone pilots to upload their images, stitch them together, create a map, or create a 3D model. Maps Made Easy is also quite accurate. You can even take measurements or even georeference the images for overlaying or clipping with satellite data or other data for the same region.
Datumate is a construction data analysis company offering various tools for collecting, analyzing, and presenting data in construction projects. They currently have two products.
DatuBIM is an engineering data analytics platform that outputs volumes, progress, completion, and deviation from the plan after data capture. And DatuFly is an app that allows drones to make customized images. For instance, you can set it to capture stockpiles, roads, intersections, etc., for georeferencing and 3D modeling.
By now, you may have realized that there are several surveying and mapping software platforms, and that was just a peek. But GeoCue Systems manages to stand out in the crowd by offering LIDAR data collection and analysis services, a more efficient and precise data collection method.
Below are some top drone flight training schools.
The Drone Pilot Ground School is one of the best places to learn drone flying, starting with the basics, all the way up until you get your FAA license. They’ve partnered with the FAA and taught more than 30,000 pilots so far.
Their Part 107 course costs $299, but you get a discount if you enroll two or more people. You can form a team of at least 5 and enroll in the course at an even lower price. Besides training, you also get advice on how to run a drone service business, as well as access to potential job opportunities.
You may know them for their airplane courses, but Pilot Institute also offers a wide range of commercial drone courses. These include the general Part 107 course, a public safety course, Drone-specific courses (DJI Mavic 2, Air 2S, Mini 2, Parrot Anafi), drone business courses, a DJI FPV course, and cinematic FPV courses.
Dart Drones rose to stardom when their CEO, Abby Speicher, appeared on Shark Tank and received up to $300,000 in investment from Mark Cuban. Since then, this drone training school has been growing tremendously.
They have over 40 training centers, several flight instructors, and a wide range of courses for hobbyists and professional drone pilots, with the pricing starting at $19.
Drone U is both a training institution and a community. They have a wide range of courses, and you can access all of them for just $47 a month. Besides the course, there’s also a community where you can share ideas and learn other creative ways to use drones.
If you can’t afford the courses, they provide lots of free information on their website and YouTube channel, where they also answer questions and discuss pressing topics in a segment called Ask Drone U.
Drone Launch Academy is another top-rated drone flight training school that teaches everything, from FAA basics, aerial photography, inspection, marketing for drone businesses, to how drone businesses work.
Below are the top companies that manufacture drone parts and systems used in most drones.
NVIDIA manufactures a wide range of hardware and software, enabling drones to fly and accomplish various tasks autonomously. A good example is DJI’s Manifold powered by NVIDIA Tegra and the Skydio 2 drone powered by NVIDIA Jetson.
InvenSense is behind most of the devices we are using today. As far as drones are concerned, they manufacture Motion Tracking systems that work as compasses, gyroscopes, obstacle avoidance, image stabilizers, and flight control systems.
IXYS Corporation manufactures chips, semiconductors, transistors, and power controllers for drones and other electronic devices. They also acquired Samsung’s microcontroller business before Littelfuse Inc acquired them.
MicroPilot manufactures autopilot systems specifically for UAVs. Their systems allow drones to accomplish tasks such as:
- Altitude Hold
- GPS Navigation
- Vertical Take-Off and Landing
- Autonomous operations such as taking off, landing, and following waypoints.
- Turn Coordination
TransDigm group manufactures connectors, batteries, chargers, and many other parts used in drones as well as manned aircraft.
Below are the top drone companies providing a wide range of services.
Zipline is a US-based drone manufacturer that specializes in making delivery drones. Their efforts have been instrumental in delivering medical supplies in rural Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines, and some parts of the US.
This was even before Covid-19 hit various parts of the world, making drone delivery even more paramount as health organizations advocated for no-contact services.
Zipline’s drones are mostly fixed-wing drones, allowing them to travel for long distances. However, since they need a run-way, they have a “drone airport,” where they still rely on other forms of transport to get the medical supplies and samples to the airports.
Raptor Maps have carved a niche for themselves in the roof and solar inspection industry, where they provide software for collecting and analyzing different types of data.
Their deliverables include: a PV thermal inspection and analysis that inspects solar panels, finds anomalies, and gives a detailed report; a rooftop PV planning and survey for enhancing rooftop design and building; and inspection data capture services in case you lack an in-house team to handle the tasks.
In a world where surveying technology is rapidly changing, Bentley Systems prides itself on providing the latest data capture and analysis technology. Whether you want to survey a small piece of land, a large piece of land, conduct structural analysis, bridge analysis, hydrology and hydraulics analysis, or any other location-based data collection task, they have a solution.
Bentley Systems is also a collection of various brands offering the surveying and mapping solutions I mentioned above and many more.
According to DRONEII’s latest research, AeroDyne is the best remote sensing and data analytics solutions provider for businesses and industrial entities. Soon, they may also start offering drone delivery services.
Terra Drone is a Japan-based drone solutions service provider specializing in surveying, mapping, inspection, and insightful data analysis. They were ranked number 2 after AeroDyne in the industry.
Other Drone Service Providers
- Google’s Wing -A drone delivery company
- CyberHawk – A company that specializes in inspection and data analysis of nuclear plants and electricity production plants.
- Matternet – A drone delivery company for medical supplies.
Below are some drone communities and forums you can join to stay connected in the drone world or find answers to your questions.
This is a community about drone pilots who own any drone in the Mavic series. You can ask questions that will be answered by an experienced member or a member from DJI. Or you can share your experiences and learn from other members.
DroneFlyers is an all-in-one directory of information about drones. Drone Life, the website I mentioned in the media section, is part of it. Other websites that are part of it include DroneRacingLife and JOBFORDRONEs. DroneFlyers also has a YouTube channel and a forum where people ask questions and learn from each other.
If you’d like to contribute to the formulation of drone laws, check out NODE, a forum that helps drone users air their concerns and suggestions as far as drone laws are concerned. This forum was started by DJI.
Reddit is one of the best places to find communities on anything or even start your community. Some sub-reddit topics to join include;
UAV Coach is one of the best online resources for drone-related articles. However, Alan Perlman, who started both UAV Coach and the Drone Pilot Ground School, realized there’s a need for a community of drone experts and enthusiasts to share ideas. That’s when he started the UAV Coach Community, and it has grown to a community any drone pilot should join.
This Facebook group brings together drone pilots who have a career in surveying and mapping or those seeking to join. Started in 2016, it has grown into one of the best communities for drone mapping pilots.
More Forums for Drone Experts and Enthusiasts
- Amelia Droneharts
- Drone Academy Forum
Below are some funding companies that fund drone-related startups.
The Drone Fund recognizes what the future holds for drones. And as a result of that they provide financial support to advance drone technology. They also provide support in IP strategy and administrative strategy, and contribute to the formation of drone policies.
In partnership with DJI and Accel, SkyFund provides venture capital to entrepreneurs who plan to use UAVs and robotics in their businesses.
Starburst provides training and mentorship on strategy, business development, and fundraising to drone startups. This equips them with the necessary skills to benefit from funding rounds, such as the Series A funding.
Genius NY is a startup accelerator that funds startups in the UAVs, IoT, robotics, and big data sectors. It’s funded by top companies such as the Empire State Development and CenterState CEO.
What they do is hold a competition where five winners are selected and awarded $3 Million. They also get all the tools they need, including a stipend, to help them bring their ideas to life.
Below are some places where you can hire drone pilots or advertise your drone services.
DroneBase is an aerial imagery and analytics service provider. But they also double up as a hiring platform where any qualified pilot can sign up, take on projects, and get paid for them. Just submit your project, and they’ll assign the most skilled pilot to handle it.
DroneUP is one of the largest drone solutions providers. They also have a platform where they manage drone pilots and deploy them in the public sector, agriculture, public safety, and many other areas. If you’re having trouble finding drone pilots for your project, they can help you with that.
Below are more directories for drone services.
Below are some of the biggest conferences, events, and shows where people discuss drone applications.
InterDrone, or the International Drone Conference and Exposition, is one of the largest drone conference organizations that organizes webinars, interviews, whitepapers, annual conferences, and panel discussions about drone usage in the commercial industry.
Commercial UAV Expo Americas is a trade fair that brings together drone experts to discuss how drones can be integrated into industries such as construction, health, safety, surveying and mapping, forestry, agriculture, mining, drone delivery, security, among others.
While the first one was held in a physical venue, the most recent conferences took place online, inviting and including people from all over the world.
Energy Drone & Robotics holds summits and virtual events to discuss the application of UAVs and robots in the energy sector. You can subscribe to their newsletter to get updates on the next events, the themes, and the participants.
Other Conferences and Events to look out for
And there you have it. I hope that gives you an idea of how large the drone industry can be, and we didn’t even cover all the drone companies that exist. If you’re entrepreneurial, maybe you can find some of the gaps that exist in the industry.
If you’re a business owner wondering how you can incorporate drones into your business, you can find answers in some of these companies. And as rules become more accommodating, we can expect to see tremendous growth and more opportunities for drone uses, manufacturers, and service providers.