Fast Company, the magazine that brings you the latest in business innovation, have announced their 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2018 list and we couldn’t wait until it hits the newsstands to tell you which drone companies are there to represent all things UAV. Some you will know well, and some may be new to you – either way – it’s a fascinating compilation!
If you haven’t heard of Elon Musk’s space baby, you must have been living under a moss-encrusted rock. The technological posterboy who earned his spurs creating PayPal has gone from strength to strength, making aeronautical history with the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. OK, technically this is about rockets but in 2016 they successfully landed them on drone ships so we think it warrants inclusion. Keep up-to-date with SpaceX at, you guess it – @SpaceX.
You’ve probably heard of France-based aeronautics company Airbus, and maybe you read about their successful autonomous taxi which was successfully flown last week. The Vahana VTOL – basically an unmanned helicopter – isn’t the first such vehicle to take flight, but they are giving German company Volocopter and Chinese EHANG a run for their money. Dubbed AlphaOne, the air taxi is completely electric powered and is certainly a step forward in personal transport innovation. Airbus have even started a separate twitter account for their Vahana Project at @VahanaAero.
This Israeli industrial drone company have scaled things up in the last 12 months, chalking up achievements like certified BVLOS flgiht in Australia, raising an impressive $32.5million in funding to meet growing market demands, and introducing a self-deploying and self-landing drone with docking station featuring geofencing, ‘return home’, GPS redundancy and a load of other features that make it tailored for industry. We suspect you’ll hear more about Airobotics, and you can follow them at @AiroboticsUAV.
With it’s roots in the car parts industry, Aptiv is the technological love child of Delphi Automotive. As they describe it, they are “making the future of mobility real”, with the intention of creating a a fleet of 150 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas, Boston and Singapore be the end of 2018. At CES2018 they collaborated with Lyft to provide over 400 self-driven rides for public passengers, to more than 20 destinations. And if they’re in Las Vegas, we are hoping we might catch a ride with them this year at Interdrone. Follow them on on Twitter at @Aptiv.
Without a doubt the most well-known consumer drone manufacturer on the planet, DJI commands a whopping two-thirds of the US drone market by revenue. From the introduction of the DJI Spark, the first drone in the market to be controlled by hand gestures, to this year’s newest release, the DJI Mavic Air, there’s absolutely no surprise they’ve made in the Fast Company Most Innovative Companies list four years running. Want to know the latest on DJI? Find them at @DJIGlobal.
Public Safety departments are increasingly turning towards autonomous solutions to enhance their capabilities, and to answer that need, Knightscope have created a multi-terrain autonomous vehicle that we actually have trouble taking seriously, it’s so damn cute. With its ability to navigate busy populated environments, it is touted as an ideal solution for airports, prisons and sensitive locations with questionable terrains. They call it the K7, but we can’t help but guess K9 was their inspiration. Follow them at @iKnightscope.
Last but not least on the list in the arena of drone innovation is Marble, founded in 2015 in San Francisco. Marble’s plan is to re-invent urban delivery of essential goods such as foodstuffs and medicines. Equipped with sensors and 3D city maps, they are more polite delivery robot than drone, but as drones move more and more towards AI and obstacle-avoidance technology, whose to say which is which? Keep up to speed with Marble at @marblerobot.
So what do you think? Anyone else you think should have made the list? Tell us on Twitter at @dronebelow.