Guest Post: This article published with permission from our partners at DroneII, Drone Industry Insights
Drone service providers have been around for a while now – time for DRONEII.com to showcase the scale on which drones are being put to work today! The commercial drone market changed a lot over the last years – we saw how hardware lost its leading position and has been displaced by drone services and drone software solutions. This development can be seen in the evolutionary changes in the investment market and in the distribution of strategic partnerships.
In this ranking, we display the TOP20 drone-as-a-service companies based on an analysis of 200+ global operating drone service providers. Since the drone industry does not yet offer a solution that can fully incorporate drone services as they currently exist, drone service providers and drone operators working within larger organizations are the ones providing actionable information for clients in agriculture, construction, mining, oil & gas and many other vertical industries. This reality has made a major impact on how we’ve been able to rank the various drone services.
In the TOP50 of our drone service ranking, 40% were from North America, 36% were from Europe, 10% were from MEA (the Middle East and Africa), 6% from Asia, 6% from Oceania, and finally 2% from South America. This breakout demonstrates the power of the North American and European markets but also proves they are not the only places to find these services.
Additionally, the TOP10 companies in our ranking alone received more than $116 million in funding, while the TOP20 acquired $130 million in total. Clearly, stakeholders both inside and outside of these companies have been able to demonstrate the real and future value of this technology. This value is being further supported by drone service providers looking for partnerships to extend and foster their business.
- Ziplineis a drone manufacturer and delivery service company based in San Francisco, CA.
- Zipline operates the world’s only drone delivery system at a national scale (500 deliveries per day within a 75-kilometer service radius) in Rwanda which was launched in 2016. They deliver urgent medicines and critical necessities such as blood to domestic hospitals. In 2017 they announced plans to launch a similar delivery system in Tanzania in 2018.
- They are a leader in funding with over $40m raised in 2016 alone
- Measure is one of the biggest and leading “Drone as a Service” (DaaS) companies in the USA. Based in Washington, DC, the company focuses on drone applications in telecom, construction, energy and media sectors.
- Measure partnered with companies like DJI and AES Corporation to foster their business and provide services that are more holistic and complete in nature.
- The company has been able to raise a significant amount of capital, and the tremendous size of the company has had a major impact on their placement in our ranking.
- The first European drone service company, Cyberhawk, is one of the top aerial inspection companies on the globe. Based in Livingston, UK, the organization delivers its services to oil & gas, renewables and rail companies all over the world.
- The size of the company along with their number of followers and the partnerships they’ve could establish put them on rank 3.
- Hemavwas founded in Spain in 2012 to offer drone services in more than sixteen operational centers across the country.
- The company has expanded their reach beyond Spain though, as Hemav has a presence in Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Colombia, Morocco, France, Argentina, the United Kingdom and Chile.
- The main industries they’re focused on for drone services include precision agriculture and inspection.
- Reno-based Flirteyspecializes in last mile delivery.
- The company recently announced a partnership with REMA, a community-integrated emergency medical services provider, to set up the first automated external defibrillator drone delivery service in the United States.
- Their focus on last mile delivery represents a value proposition that is entirely different from many of the other drone service industries on our list.
- Sky-Futuresis a specialist provider of drone-based inspection services to the global industrial markets based in Hayes, Middlesex.
- The strategic partnership and investment of $4m in mid-2017 from the industrial giant Mitsui will boost Sky-Futures’ business through the Japanese group’s network of clients in the energy, marine and infrastructure sectors.
- Their performance in partnerships and funding has gotten the attention of many, and their emphasis on offering a variety of drone service options has gotten professionals to think of them as a resource for a variety of issues.
- The internationally-based drone operator Aerodynehas offices in Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the UK.
- In mid-August 2017, the company established a significant milestone when they passed 30,000 assets inspected, analyzed and presented through their cloud-based solution. This number demonstrates the tremendous reach of their drone service that extends across the globe.
- Their increasing presence across the globe continues to impact their position in the market.
- The drone service provider Airinovfrom France is used by more than 5,000 farmers, most of which are located throughout Europe.
- The company focuses on agriculture and operates mainly in Europe, and their solid performance in web activity has allowed them to generate interest from all corners of the continent.
#9: Terra Drone
- Terra Droneis a commercial drone service based in Tokyo, Japan, that is focused on surveying and inspection tasks.
- The company has developed its own surveying drone with LiDAR technology to achieve high accuracy, and some of these developments have been enabled by key partnerships. Those partnerships along with their reasonable web activity established the company in the 9thposition on our list.
- The US-based SkySpecsfrom Michigan specializes in the automated inspection and monitoring of wind turbines.
- Skyspecs teamed up with Siemens Windpower in 2017 to develop an inspection system to be faster, more efficient and repeatable than current methodologies.
- These kinds of partnerships along with a total funding of more than $12 million allowed the company to round out our TOP 10 in the drone service ranking.
The second half of our ranking is dominated by drone operators that provide inspection and mapping/surveying services. This is a strong indication of the interest that the market as a whole has for drone service providers and indicates where we’re seeing considerable growth and interest. Of these companies, Sharper Shape out of Finland i.e. received more than $4 million in funding.
The present and future need for drone service providers
Over the past few years when the interest in drone hardware came to a climax, many organizations had to confront issues related to how they could or should be working with all the data collected by their drone. This situation caused many to lose interest in drones and pull back from efforts to unlock the full potential of the technology.
While changes to regulation, drone technology itself, and the quality of enterprise solutions (provided by e.g. DroneDeploy, PrecisionHawk or Kitty Hawk) have made it that much easier for enterprise customers to manage drone operations themselves, there is clearly still a need for drone services. This fact has allowed drone service companies to focus on a variety of sectors and services to demonstrate how they can both capture raw data and turn it into actionable information. Additionally, they’ve been able to sort through regulatory responsibilities and the high administrative requirements that are often associated with this process. Because of this, many enterprise customers have been happy to outsource this capability. This preference has also opened up a need for drone service companies that can find new business models for niche or high-risk operations.
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