Drone Companies and Industry Review
Part of Geo-Politics Series - Guide to Geo-Economic-Politics
- Drone Companies
- Tiny Drone Companies - Mostly Private
- Professional Drone Companies - Private
- Military Drone Companies and Technology
- Other Companies with Drone Businesses
DJI, Shenzen,China No.1 - $10b uSD
LARGEST BY FAR Makes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) a.k.a. drones.
DJI is the undisputed leader of commercial drone manufacturers and ranks 1st, regardless of the recent accusations of espionage by the U.S. military and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Between 70-80% of market share in the worldwide commercial sector speaks for itself.
Being the largest, DJI has the most diverse consumer drone product line in many segments, and it’s paying off.
- 2018 50%-70% of the global consumer drones market mainly for recreational use.
2021 estimate that 4 million consumer drones from DJI will be in use globally
Phantom drone is its often imitated, iconic drone.
Mavic Pro drone $1500+ - Market leading - 31 minutes, 4k 30 FPS, 44 MPH
DJI Mavic Air 2 $800+ - 34 minutes, 4k 60 FPS, 42.5 MPH
Spark latest drone
Spreading Wings or Matrice drones are their professional and commercial drones
DJI is a master of adding features well beyond what most of us will use for any given flight, DJI is constantly adding value to their products through new accessories or software features.
The drones of DJI are used in global production of the music, television and film industries.
Yuneec Drones, China - No.2 private
Their machines are mostly fairly large, even if they fold down for transport, and get great battery life while hauling decently large cameras into the sky.
Breeze - a well equipped toy-class drone
Typhoon H Plus 28', 4k 30FPS, 30 MPH $1900+ Professional Large Camera carrying drones and among the world’s best-selling drone models
H520 is among the world’s best-selling drone models
- The company started out as a manufacturer of remote-controlled hobby aircraft.
- They then developed from a supplier of recreational drones to one of the largest manufacturers of commercial drones.
It is adding Intel RealSense visioning systems to some of the drones adds serious power to their object avoidance and detection capabilities.
GoPro is a company that makes small, durable cameras with great photo and video quality. Their cameras are designed to withstand shock and water, so they’re great for outdoor use.
GoPro’s durable cameras are ideal for drones, and they started manufacturing the Karma drone in 2016. This drone is lightweight and great for hobbyists, but it’s also become popular among professional videographers.
GoPro stock has had its ups and downs, and is still trading far below its 2014 peak. However, there’s still potential for growth with this company. After hitting a low point in March, they’ve rallied to a year long high in December of 2020.
PAOTF No.4 Xx
Parrot is still priced under $10, so it’s important to be wary of volatility before investing.
Bebop original drone - a cylindrical piece of plastic and foam Reputation of flimsy construction - break too easily on landing or crashing often esp. early models.
Bebop 2 made an easy to fly drone by even kids yet "safer" on impact.
ANAFI USA drone is designed for professional applications like firefighting and security. = This is their new platform, with the ability to point the camera straight up as well as down. Less known in their lineup are the VTOL fixed wing craft and the many small toy crafts.
Despite difficult years with staff layoffs and continued sales declines, Parrot Drones, as part of the Parrot Group, is still one of the world’s largest manufacturers. Like many other manufacturers, Parrot is using the current opportunity in the U.S. to offer its products to governmental entities (like the U.S. Army or the Defences Innovation Unit).
CORE: Makes most popular hobby drones With a large selection of well thought out toy drones than you might imagine, Parrot has a drone for almost any child, and for the adults as well.
--- About Parrot - French
SEG: Professional -
- Its ANAFI USA drone is designed for professional applications like firefighting and security.
EH EHang Holdings
A Chinese drone company that is working to make drone passenger aviation a reality.
However, its main ANAFI professional drone is manufactured in the United States and has the same security, durability and imaging capabilities as a drone the company designed for the U.S. Army.
The launch of this drone – which is built for first responders, firefighters, search and rescue teams, security agencies and surveying and inspection professionals – is a move by the company to compete with Chinese drone technology in the current political environment of tensions between Beijing and Washington.
2018 Demoed online in 2018.
CORE: Commercial Passenger Flights They envision that their passenger drones would be part of smart cities around the world. They could potentially be used for transportation as well as shipping, firefighting, tourism, and so much more.
- 2020, the Civil Aviation Administration in China approved EHang’s drones for commercial passenger use.
Other countries have also started trials with EHang to bring their drones abroad.
- From 2020-03 low, shares have doubled
2020-12 analysts raised their earnings estimates by a large margin and stock jumped
About EHang Holdings
Tiny Drone Companies - Mostly Private
Uvify - private
Draco racing drone from Uvify launched Jan'2018
OOri, a great mini drone FY'20
Uvify is working on some drone AI as well to make it easier to control
Hubsan is one of the top manufacturers of toy-class drones. They do offer higher-end solutions, but their sub-$100 offerings are some of the best machines you can fly. From the H107 to the H502 you get stable flight and responsive controls up to GPS routing and HD cameras.
Companies like Hubsan, produce a few base frames and accessories add on to make "Custom" Drones, often making consumers "mount" the accessories like PC add-in cards!
- [Hubsan is a under $100 drone](http://www.dronerush.com/hubsan-drones-guide-toys-x4-9810/
Known for their portable drones.
Byrd was a folding machine in a way that we almost take for granted today
O2 is a new approach, the propeller arms slide into the drone - one of the most portable drones
With themed drones eg Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek and other franchises and unique drone ideas. They build up foam drones on a standard chassis.
Professional Drone Companies - Private
Intel built drones are available on store shelves
Intel also builds and provides components to some of the top drone companies.
Shooting Star drone in action, maybe at the Super Bowl.
Intel Falcon 8+ was put to use on restoration of a 15th century cathedral.
Walkera has some of the best ready-to-fly racing drones but also toy-class and professional grade
- Voyager - is a great drone employed by police forces for surveillance and more. The high quality 4K camera with monster zoom lens puts an eye in the sky the way only a full size helicopter could do before.
Autel has only a few consumer level drones for fun.
On the higher end of things, Autel Robotics is focusing on VTOL craft, able to soar long distances at high speeds. Its main product line is the Autel Robotics X-Star Premium eg a handful of nifty fixed wing machines for field inspection.
FreeFly builds specialized machines for high-end photography.
Alta 8, an octocopter largest machine in their line capable of carrying up to 20 lbs of camera gear.
Accessories They build all sorts of other camera equipment, stabilization rigs of all shapes and sizes,
Military Drone Companies and Technology
Surveillance drone that is used for intelligence and data collection
AVAV AeroVironment, USA - No.1 dual-use UAV specialist
- FY'2020 - Sales $367m +17% yoy, Beat EPS expectations this year
- revenues was primarily due to a $44.7 million increase in product sales and a $8.3 million increase in service revenues.
2020 December, their earnings report beat estimates by $10 million.
--- STRUCT AeroVironment has focused mainly on small drones but claims seeking to expanding their services.
While far smaller than BA,NOC,LMT this defense contractor is a pure-play on the growth of the military drone market. It focuses on UAVs. While the company offers drones for commercial use, it says it derives the majority of its revenue from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and related services sold mostly to the U.S. Department of Defense and international allied governments, as well as tactical missile systems and related services to the U.S. government.
- CORE: Defense contractor/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) specialist.
- They have contracts with the Department of Defense to build military drones. AeroVironment also sells missile systems and satellite technologies. AeroVironment focuses on their government contracts, which gives them a stable source of revenue in a challenging market.
SEG: commercial drone services
- --- About - AeroVironment
- 2018 highs
- 2020 Mar crash - recovered
- 2020 acquired a German robotics company called Telerob.
Other Companies with Drone Businesses
PLRTF - Canada/Nato benefitted
Plymouth Rock is a Canadian PENNY STOCK that has a full range of drones for both tactical and civilian use. Unlike many other drone companies, they build their products in the US vs majority of CHEAP CHINA ones.
The company says its PRT-X1 drone platform is "proudly built in the USA" from NATO coalition-sourced parts.
But if there is a large pivot from government and law enforcement reliance on Chinese-made drones, Plymouth Rock Technologies could be in a good spot.
- PROBLEM: HIGH RISK, PENNY STOCK
FY2020 cP < $1 PENNY STOCK with high risk and volatility
SUPER SMALL. The company hasn’t turned a profit yet, as of its last filing, and Plymouth said at the time it would need substantial additional money to establish its current and planned operations.
Insitu,USA drone subsidiary of Boeing - No.2 dual-use UAV specialist
- 2008 Boeing acquired Insitu in 2008 for a reported purchase price of around $400m
- 2019 faced some difficulties in when it had to cut jobs to remain competitive.
The Boeing Defense, Space & Security division has a dedicated drone subsidiary, Insitu, which designs, develops, produces and operates UAS. In addition to defense applications, the company's technologies can also be applied to commercial uses such as environmental monitoring, agriculture, search and rescue, disaster relief and mining operations.
Their most notable UAV is the ScanEagle, which is used for reconnaissance missions. Its widely used military platforms ScanEagle and RQ-21A Blackjack, Insitu is one of the most important drone manufacturers worldwide.
- BA Boeing - Drones are a small source of their income so are not a factor in whether to invest in it or not. It remains an important player in the industry as a 100+ year old respected aviation company. Boeing has long held contracts with the US military to develop tactical solutions.
Aeronautics, Israel, No.3 3rd in the dual-use drone
Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems acquired a 50% stake at the end of 2019. Aeronautics is greatly benefiting from their expertise in the fields of surveillance and reconnaissance
Northrop Grumman is one of the largest defense contractors currently in operation.
They currently make a range of high tech drones for the US Air Force.
- It’s top drone is the Global Hawk a surveillance drone that is used for intelligence and data collection. While the Global Hawk is primarily used by the US Air Force, NASA and NATO also rely on it. This drone is very expensive and comes with a high price tag for Northrop Grumman.
Because Northrop Grumman primarily contracts with the government, they have some added financial stability. In addition to drones, they manufacture other air and space craft, as well as high grade missile systems.
Northrop’s stock price has gone up and down over the past year. However, their status as a leading defense contractor means they are a relatively low risk stock. This is a good pick for a long term investing strategy.
Obviously a mega defense corp with very little drones in its huge portfolio of air, space, and security services. While they do have some commercial clients, the vast majority of their contracts are with the government.
One of Lockheed Martin’s leading drones is a small unmanned aircraft called the Indago 3. This drone is designed to fit in a backpack, but is robust and durable enough for military use.