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From conceptualization to actual application, drone manufacturers have taken the theories of sci-fi movies and books and turned them into real-life applications, giving birth to the phenomenon of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Drone makers worldwide have been significantly influenced by the accelerated technological developments and advancements in the field of smart electronics.
Predicted to play significant roles in business, civic, and military affairs, drones are at the forefront of a smart-generation technological shift. They capture the fancy of many, from hobbyists to surveyors, tech leaders, tech-savvy enthusiasts, tech investors and business and decision leaders worldwide.
Drone stocks are massive opportunities for companies and investors alike. Companies across the US have rushed to deploy drones to cut costs, boost operational efficiency, and open up new streams of revenue.
In this article by Business Insider’s premium research service, Business Insider Intelligence has covered some of the most recognized and famed global drone makers. It includes both established and startup companies, giving you an all-inclusive overview of the diverse, trending, and explosive industry of Miniature Pilotless Aircrafts.
Below is a list of public and private companies that are the current biggest players in the drone industry.
List of Companies
Most of the top players in the drone industry are publicly traded companies, providing investors and hobbyists worldwide an early opportunity to dive into the rapidly budding mega-trend before the phenomenon reaches mass adoption. However, the biggest and the most recognized player in this industry is DJI Innovations, a privately held firm.
The buzz around this industry regarding its impact and future prospects is what keeps the masses involved and waiting in anticipation to be able to get a slice of the pie.
DJI (Dajiang) Innovations (Privately held)
With its headquarters in Shenzhen, China, and offices in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, DJI Innovations is the current leading name in manufacturing civilian drones by capturing approximately 70% of the global consumer and enterprise drone market.
Their Phantom series is popular worldwide amongst professionals and hobbyists for its wireless technology and services such as GPS First Person viewing.
DJI’s Spark is a mini drone that features all of DJI’s signature technologies, such as intelligent flight control options, a mechanical gimbal, video stabilization, and a camera with incredible image quality. Additionally, Spark supports third-party gamepads to appeal to the growing Gen Z consumer base.
Ambarella is best known as the manufacturer of the chips in GoPro’s action cameras, but the company also produces video-processing chips for other drone-makers. It brought HD and UHD video to drones for the first time, powering many of DJI’s and Parrot’s best-selling products.
Ambarella managed to grow its revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2020 t0 $67.9 million – up 18.6% from $57.3 million in the same period in fiscal 2019.
Through its subsidiary Insitu, Boeing is a big player in the medium-sized drone space industry. Although most of its drone are targeted towards the military market, Boeing has also ventured into the ocean drone space with its acquisition of Liquid Robotics.
Boeing reported revenue of $20.0 billion reflecting lower 737 deliveries and higher defense and services volume in Q3 2019. The Boeg 737 MAX is the company’s newest family of single-aisle airplanes, and is he fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history with about 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.
GoPro went public in early 2014 and sold approximately $427 million worth of stock, making it the biggest consumer-electronics IPO since battery company Duracell International Inc.’s 1991 debut.
Formerly known as Woodman Labs, Inc., GoPro develops, manufactures and markets pocket-sized, high-definition cameras often used in extreme action video photography. The lightweight cameras are commonly mounted to consumer-level drones. GoPro’s Karma Drone series has been the most popular product line they have ever introduced.
Given the company’s HD camera popularity amongst enthusiasts and extreme sport lovers, GoPro drones are geared towards hobbyists, professionals, and adventurers.
Lockheed Martin LMT (NYSE: LMT)
One of the biggest aerospace and defense giants today, Lockheed Martin is behind many of the drones used by the U.S. military and continues to put its drone business front and center. Lockheed is venturing into manufacturing armed drones, which could prove to be a big boon to its bottom line, especially if the Department of Defense continues to support the sale and use of them internationally.
Lockhead continues to flourish in the drone market. It grew net sales from $13.4 billion in the second quarter of 2018 to $14.4 billion in Q2 2019. Additionally, its net earnings in the second quarter of 2019 were $1.4 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2018.
3D Robotics (Privately held)
Based out of Berkeley, California, 3D Robotics focuses mostly on autonomous drones (like its drone SOLO) with GPS point planning, otherwise known as a smart drone.
The company focuses on products for everyday exploration and business applications, as well as aerial photography.3D Robotics claims to be the smartest and most technologically advanced drone company in the world. In their words, “We’re putting computers in the sky.”
3D Robotics developed the first true “Follow Me” technology in the drone industry through which drones can stay right with you wherever you go, automatically keeping the camera centered on you to capture your every move.
Parrot SA (EPA: PARRO)
Parrot, headquartered in Paris, is a key player in the UAV/quadcopter market. Its main specialty is manufacturing wireless devices for mobile phones and automobiles (i.e. Bluetooth hands-free kits). Parrot has seized a large part of the commercial and civil UAV/quadcopter market with the AR.Drone and its successor the AR.Drone 2.0, a mid- range hobby drone with integrated FPV system controlled by a smartphone app.
Easily DJI’s direct competitor in the aerial photography and aerial video markets, the company’s Bebop series is one of the most popular camera drones currently sold today due to its affordability.
Yuneec (Privately held)
Headquartered in Kunshan Jiangsu, China, Yuneec is the world leader in electric aviation. With offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, Yuneec manufactures more than one million units per year sold under its OEM and ODM brands.
In 2014, Yuneec introduced the world’s first ready-to-fly, out-of-the-box drone: The Typhoon Q500 quadcopter, This made the company and its products very popular amongst professionals and hobbyists.
In 2016, Yuneec launched the Yuneec Typhoon H – the very first semi-professional hexacopter as a ready-to-fly version, which was equipped with Intel RealSense technology.
DJI Innovations and Yuneec collectively are known as the Apple and Samsung of the drone world.
Autel Robotics is self described as being dedicated to delivering ground-breaking solutions for new aerial exploration through our market-leading quadcopter and camera drone technology. Founded in 2014, Autel Robotics focuses their research on developing aerial drones for photography and other industries.
One of its featured products, the EVO, is a compact folding unit equipped with intelligent flight features and premium camera. The EVO boasts flight times up to 30 minutes with a range of 4.3 miles.
Hubsan is headquartered in China with additional offices in North America, and is known throughout the drone market for its products that are both beginner- and professional-friendly.
In 2019 Hubsan launched Hubsan Zino, a foldable drone that is perfect for beginners. Additionally, users can choose to control the drone with a smartphone through the X-Hubsan app, which is available on both Google Play and the App Store. Hubsan’s Zino comes qith intelligent fight modes and top-quality camera.
More to Learn
The drone mega-trend is here to stay and evolve. Almost every industry and field will be impacted by the presence and usage of drones in one way or the other in the coming future. That is why Business Insider Intelligence has spent months compiling a detailed collection on drone technology called Drones for the Enterprise Report.
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