TOP10 Drone Performance Ranking
Today you read a lot about new drones with new features and increased capabilities. But what does that mean in relation? Does this new feature make this new drone really better than any other?
In this ranking we want to show the potential of drones today. We choose from a wide range of platforms to provide a comprehensive picture across the industry.
All platforms – big and small – have designated uses and differ in their capabilities. It starts with recreational and rather small UAV’s for indoor flights up to 5 minutes to advanced medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) drones with gasoline powered engines and up to 20 hours of endurance.
With regards to the future legislation we chose to subdivide the considered platforms acc. to the EASA’s proposal. This proposal respects the weight as well as the potential use case (private/commercial) of UAV operation. The weight classes range from 0 to 1kg, 1 to 4kg, 4 to 25kg and 25+kg. Since 25kg (55lbs) is the FAA limit for small UAV, platforms weighing above are not part of this ranking. To reach all various operators we chose to create three rankings – one for each UAV weight class.
In the following charts you’ll see the TOP10 out of each class. To create the ranking we gathered flight performance data from 150 UAV types (like range, speed, endurance, payload, etc.) to show the maximum possible1 capability of each platform.
The first TOP10 ranking illustrates the smallest platforms from 0 to 1 kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW):
What is remarkable here is that European manufacturer lead the ranking with the first five positions and the top three go to the Parrot-owned company, Sensefly, from Switzerland. All drones are (lipo) battery powered and come up with very good performances, which shows that the best drones in the ‘recreational’ class are mostly made for commercial use.
The second ranking shows the TOP10 of drone performance for weight class 1 to 4kg MTOW:
Here you see small but very powerful platforms – all battery powered and very efficient with endurances of up to 3 hours. Noticeable here is that the top 7 of 10 are fixed wing models, which are up to five times more efficient than rotary driven platforms. Represented several times are Trimble, C-Astral and CATUAV with different versions of nearly the same platforms.
The third ranking shows the heavy weights of small UAV with 4 to 25kg MTOW:
What makes this class interesting is that gasoline powered UAV’s enter the race. The power to weight ratio of gasoline engines is still better than batteries – a certain platform size presumed. Six out of ten are gasoline powered and eight out of ten are fixed wing models. UAV Factory, ING Robotic Aviation and CATUAV are represented up to three times in this ranking.
To provide more detailed information about drone performance, markets and manufacturer, our next article will be about the different types and specifications. We are going to compare performance data and cluster all 150 platforms onto one huge chart.
If you are interested in having all 150 considered drone types and their performance data you can download the spreadsheet here.
Stay tuned and have a great week!
About the ranking:
The ranking only considers and ranks UAV types in its specified class. You cannot compare the percentages of a platform in Class 1 with platforms in Class 2 or Class 3.
We took the maximum values (top range, top endurance, etc.) and put them into relation – this provides a notional top capability of each UAV. We are well aware that all peak values cannot be reached at the same time.
All specifications are collected from manufacturer and retailers websites.
The highest scoring UAV in each dimension receives a rating of 100%, with all other UAV performances receiving a lower percentage in linear relation to the score of the highest ranking UAV. The total score is an average of all four measured dimensions.
A drone could get an index of 100% if he leads all considered sources.