Drone companies saw a record number of deals last year. On a quarterly basis, Q1'17 was the most active quarter historically for deals, reaching 32 investments worth $113M. Within the space, terrestrial imagery, infrastructure inspection, and delivery have emerged as some of the primary use cases for drone technology. Using CB Insights data, we identified over 70 leading private companies in the drones space and categorized them into the twelve main categories in which they operate. We define drones broadly to include software and hardware companies developing technologies related to unmanned aerial, marine, and/or land vehicles designed for unstructured environments.
Drones allow photographers to capture images and video from perspectives that would be nearly impossible -- or prohibitively expensive -- otherwise. Some of the best examples of this type of photography can be found in Dronestagram's annual contest, which recognizes the most stunning images captured from the skies. This year's competition included 5,900 submissions from 28 countries, according to National Geographic. The photos are broken down into three categories: Nature-Wildlife, Sports, and Travel. First, second, and third place winners have been announced for each.
Federal officials say they will work quickly to draft new regulations that would permit small, commercial drones to fly over people, including crowds. That comes in response to recommendations from an industry advisory committee. The Federal Aviation Administration currently prohibits most commercial use of drones over people. The recommendations, first reported by The Associated Press, would create four categories of commercial drones. Drones weighing about a half pound or less would be allowed to fly over people virtually without restriction.
You might think of drones as consumer products, but DJI has unveiled a deal that shows where their future sales potential lies. Its commercial division is selling 1,000 custom Matrice 100 drones equipped with Skycatch imaging technology to Japanese construction equipment giant Komatsu. The sale represents the "largest commercial drone order in history," said DJI. It didn't reveal the total value of the contract, but off-the-shelf Matrice 100s, which are highly customizable, cost $3,200 or so, and the "Guidance" GPS module is another $1,000. That doesn't include the $1,800 per month price of Skycatch's "High Precision Package" used to create surveying maps and point clouds for builders and others.