Q3 Drone Industry Rankings
Q3 Company Rankings – click to download full-size PDF

Industrial solutions are not longer complex puzzles of choosing the right ingredients.

Old and new leader of the drone company ranking is DJI (▷1). The Chinese platform manufacturer remains expanding both company portfolio and market presence. Toy manufacturer Parrot (▷2) defends rank two with solid distance to the newcomer Xiaomi on rank three.

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.

As always this is a well-researched look at the industry from Kay Wackwitz and his team. Skip past the translation because there is considerable insight to be gained that extends well beyond (below?) the Top 20.
Probably the most surprising is the appearance of Xiaomi at the number three spot since we have heard nothing about them since their launch in May.

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.

While Xiaomi does not appear to be in the US channels yet, the race to the bottom is having an impact on number two Parrot. Today in a press release, Henri Seydoux, Parrot’s chairman, CEO and founder noted that due to price pressures in the consumer market they have revised its growth targets for the year. I assume that at least in the US, the Disco launch has gotten lost in the midst of the flurry of publicity behind Typhoon, Karma and Mavic. It would appear that Seydoux will be pivoting
to strength.

With over EUR 200 million of net cash, Parrot says it is moving forward with its strategy presented at the time of the capital increase at the end of 2015 and is aiming to build a significant and profitable market share on the strongly growing civil drone market.

“We are only at the start of the civil drone industry,” comments Henri Seydoux, Parrot’s chairman, CEO and founder. “We are working to build up a unique portfolio of activities in the professional sector while adapting our consumer offering in line with this market’s rapid developments. As the main shareholder and primary contributor to the capital increase in December 2015, I am aiming above all to preserve our development model and roll out a profitable strategy.

In a sign of the times, and things to come, note number 20 – Airbus. This after their very impressive inspection demo at Farnborough and more recently becoming the first company to be approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the design and development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) intended for civil
type certification.
A sure sign in my opinion that the market is maturing and will soon begin
to fragment.

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