So far military manufacturers were not considered in the commercial drone company ranking. Since many of them opened their portfolio towards commercial solutions they are now part of the commercial drone company ranking.
Since we reached the evolutionary stage of end-to-end solutions, we also included a new category of companies to the ranking. Industrial solutions are not longer complex puzzles of choosing the right ingredients. Manufacturers increasingly start to offer UAS including software instead of UAV’s only. Therefore, we added the category “components and systems” to the ranking. This includes now UAV engine manufacturers like NW UAV or EnergyOR, sensor manufacturers like Headwall or Velodyne LiDAR as well as counter drone solutions with companies like Droneshield or Dedrone.
+++ Please note: there is an updated version of the chart below. In the version sent with the newsletter some country flags were not allocated correctly. +++
New in the ranking
Xiaomi (rank 3)
Xiaomi the Chinese mobile Internet Company included UAV’s in their mobile phone and consumer electronics biased portfolio with a sensational bang. The Xiaomi drone was introduced in late May, offering solid flight performance and a 4K camera while dashing the price tags of competitors in half. The product launch in the low cost consumer drone market started a while ago with high investments e.g. into the Chinese camera maker Yi Technology
Hover Camera (rank 4)
The Chinese startup Zero Zero Robotics has quietly raised $25 million in funding over the past two years while remaining in stealth mode. The “flying selfie stick” is able to detect faces, flies without GPS and avoids obstacles while making pictures with 12 Megapixel. The company is using Qualcomm chipsets and Foxconn does the actual manufacturing. Retail price will be around $600 USD.
AeroVironment (rank 5)
AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV), new to this ranking but not a new company at all, was founded back in 1971 with the focus on electrical/electronic manufacturing. While focusing on tactical and governmental UAV platforms, now the time is right to provide commercial solutions for precision agriculture as well as the energy, utilities and infrastructure.
ECA Group (rank 15)
The French defense and space company with expertise in robotics, automated systems, simulation and industrial processes also broadened their portfolio towards commercial UAV solutions. Their IT180 coax-rotor platform can be used for inspection, surveying and geophysics applications.
Airbus Defence & Space (rank 20)
Airbus D&S (FWB: EAD), a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, is specialized in surveillance and defence technologies. Their third MALE UAV “Zephyr S” has just been delivered to the British government.
The partnership with counter-drone solution provider Dedrone in late July promises to bring drone detection to wide open spaces and remote areas.
During the Berlin Air Show in June 16th Airbus unveiled the first fully 3D-printed UAV prototype Thor, which was produced in less than one month´s time.
Delta Drone (rank 15 △+14)
In the past Delta Drone acquired a lot of companies like Droneo, Fly-n-Sense and Hydrogéosphère MTSI. They have subsidiaries in Africa, Europe and the USA and are eager to boost their portfolio with further acquisitions (QR code technology, warehousing). Delta Drone and French logistics company Geodis are currently exploring several approaches for real-time warehouse management. The French UAV manufacturer Delta Drone (EPA: ALDR) recently announced a capital increase with offering 457.579 new shares
PrecisionHawk (rank 19 ▽-7)
Well know by their fixed wing UAV and their smarter farming package PrecisionHawk is bringing things to a new level. With $18M USD raised in the Series C funding round (including Verizon Ventures, USAA, NTT Docomo Ventures and Yamaha Motor Vehicles) in late April, the next strategic move was right around the corner.
By linking DJI’s commercial-grade drone hardware to PrecisionHawk’s DataMapper software platform, they now offer a complete agricultural analytics solution.
Sensefly (rank 18 ▽-9)
The Swiss platform manufacturer is pushing commercial solutions forward. Their bestseller ebee was recently launched in the SQ version with an integrated multispectral camera for agricultural applications. The SQ stands for Parrots “Sequoia” camera with 4 bands + RGB data. Partnering with Skyward, the American cloud-based software manufacturer enables to offer custom operations management software and a consulting service package.
As mentioned before we brought many new companies to the ranking. These companies suppressed others that would have made it into the TOP20. Here are the TOP20 drop-outs compared to the Q2 ranking 2016.
FLIR (rank 31 ▽-11)
In May FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced the FLIR Vue™ Pro R for commercial drones. The new Vue Pro R adds radiometric functionality to the popular Vue Pro camera, giving drone operators the ability to save the pictures for post-flight image analysis and accurately measure the temperatures of individual image pixels. It certainly will take some time until innovative products like this ramp up bringing FLIR back tot he TOP20.
Pix4D (rank 40 ▽-21)
Pix4D has announced a subscription-model offering for precision agriculture image processing using a hybrid approach allowing cloud-based and local hardware processing. “We were camera agnostic, now we are both camera and platform agnostic,” says Pix4D founder and CEO Christoph Strecha, in a news release. “In the end, we care more about the quality and the ease-of-use than whether mappers are processing on desktop or the cloud.”
CyPhy Works (rank 32 ▽-17)
It’s been very quite about CyPhy lately until the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Forces ordered CyPhy Works’ Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications, or PARC, drone system. PARC is a portable, tethered drone that can perform long-endurance flights, with the tether providing power while also allowing communications and video link.
Skycatch (rank 46 ▽-32)
Skycatch, the industry leader for industrial UAV applications and data-imaging, partnered with platform manufacturer DJI to launch “COMMANDER”, their iOS flight app for DJI drones. The app automates data capture with DJI’s latest drones, turning them into professional mapping tools.
Lily Robotics (rank 25 ▽-14)
The long awaited flying selfie camera still is long in coming. The frequently postponed market launch created a lack of trust and cost valuable ranks. According to the website the Lily camera is up for pre-ordering now – the actual shipping date remains unclear.