Drones have been around for decades, and they made an entry onto the consumer market several years ago. However, 2016 was apparently the year of the drone, as they were literally everywhere. It’s clear that drones are here to stay, and their use will only grow as we head into the future. 2016 marks the year that more people started buying drones as gifts, flying them around like kites, using them for amateur aerial videography and photography, and even businesses cashed in on the benefits of drone technology to improve their operations. This explosion of popularity has been very profitable for the companies that produce unmanned aerial vehicles along with the software and accessories for them. Here are five up and coming companies that specialize in drone technology.
More and more companies are after aerial imaging for use in their business operations and to develop new products, and Pix4D helps to that end. The drone technology company provides image processing software for use with unmanned drones – Pix4D’s tag line is “simply powerful”, which is an apt way to describe their software. After uploading aerial images, Pix4D turns it into 3D models and 2D mosaics.
Pix4D was founded by Christoph Strecha and Olivier Kung in 2011 as an offshoot of Switzerland based EPFL, and in its current iteration the company continues to grow its research, technological capabilities, and imagery and mapping solutions. The company’s staff has grown along with its successes and now Pix4D has offices in Switzerland, San Francisco, and Shanghai.
A number of different industries have adopted Pix4D’s photogrammetry software for various applications, and it’s one of the most reliable and outstanding options in the industry. It streamlines the process from capturing to analyzing and sharing, and companies including real estate firms, agricultural enterprises, surveying companies, and construction businesses are using it to improve their workflow.
GoPro sales have been spurred on by the increased availability of drones, making aerial videography dramatically rise in popularity along with it. PolarPro produces accessories and filters made for the GoPro that help aerial videographers takes better footage. Not only have PolarPro’s products become highly in demand, the company was also featured on an episode of the hit show Shark Tank, during which Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban took a 20% stake in the company and gave PolarPro $1 million.
The filters that PolarPro makes are well designed, durable, and also affordable — it’s the last point that has brought the brand such recognition and a slew of new customers. PolarPro focuses on helping everyday people, from sports fans to amateur cinematographers and everyone in between, get the most out of the GoPro, capture their life experiences, and create amazing content. The company also sells gear, backpacks, and TSA approved cases meant to help make taking UAVs and filters on the go easier.
Skycatch is used in the engineering and construction industries, but it also offers apps and solutions for people who want to increase their productivity and incorporate more technology into their lives for a smarter existence. In addition to providing data via UAVs, Skycatch has developed software to analyze actionable data as well as a drone that’s used for aerial imaging.
What’s remarkable about SkyCatch is how accessible it is. You can take drone footage that you’ve captured, upload it to the site, and turn those photos into incredibly detailed 3D models with just one click. Add to that a price of less than $50 for unlimited processes, and it’s easy to see why so many individuals and companies have flocked to it. SkyCatch provides solutions for enterprises that are even more feature filled, such as the ability to import CAD plans, add and share annotations, and use localized coordinates. The company also offers an advanced quadcopter drone kit.
Heard of the Bebop drone? If you’re on the lookout for the latest in drone technology you likely recognize the name, and it’s produced by a company called Parrot. This particular product recently gained even more acclaim when Parrot launched two versions of it specifically geared towards real estate professionals and packaged with Pix4D’s 3D mapping software. The Bebop is just one of their products, as the company makes some of the most popular and well designed drones available on the market. Parrot is also the developer, designer, and marketer of accessories for tablets and smartphones.
Not only do the company’s drones look super sleek, they work exceedingly well and can reach speeds that other UAVs don’t come close to. The line of Parrot’s products include cockpit glasses, headsets, and other accessories to enhance the drone piloting experience. In addition to its full sized high tech drones Parrot has a line of mini-drones that are well suited for those just getting into using drone technology or looking for smaller UAVs. A great example is the Parrot Swing, which costs less than $150, has autopilot mode, vertical takeoff capability, and is the only mini-drone on the market with the ability to fly at supersonic speeds. Wireless audio accessories, car accessory kits, and an interesting self-watering, smartphone managed flower pot called the Parrot Pot are also made by the company.
Redbird created the cloud based platform Cardinal, which helps mining operations, quarries, and construction companies improve safety and optimize their resources through aerial data collected via drone technology. The company’s data analysis and collection services have been so well received that they formed a partnership with Caterpillar.
The company’s goal is to help businesses improve their job sites and start using drone technology to help them fine tune their operations and become more profitable. Redbird uses drones, cloud computing, and mapping interfaces to track and assess job sites, and it also offers autonomous drone flights, online data transfer, cloud based processing, and online collaboration.
Not only are Redbird’s solutions easy to implement, fast working, and shareable, they’re secure and highly precise. The company was recently acquired by Airware, another leading drone solutions provider for businesses and enterprises, which will allow it to reach a wider number of potential clients.