Drone technology has been around for years, but the industry is really hitting its stride with innovative applications and leaps in device capabilities. Autonomous drones traverse the ocean gathering data on climate change and can deliver critical supplies by air. This is just the beginning. Major innovation is happening in the Bay Area, and here are five companies leading the way in the growing drone industry.
San Francisco, CA
Founded in 2014
Zipline uses a fleet of electric, battery-powered drones to deliver lifesaving products around the world. With endorsements from civil aviation authorities in countries like Rwanda, Zipline has made over 38,000 deliveries to date. The company has raised over $230M from investors like Andreesen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Goldman Sachs.
Founded in 2014
How do you collect vital data in the ocean’s harshest conditions? With Saildrone’s unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), of course. These autonomous wind and solar powered vehicles voyage across the seas on long range data collection missions and report back high-resolution data in real time. Governments and private companies alike use this data to gain insights into big topics like global fishing trends and climate change.
Menlo Park, CA
Founded in 2013
Construction companies fly Kespry drones to ensure better worksite planning and operations. Instead of taking a week to manually measure stockpiles, a single drone flight surveys the site, analyzes data, and produces business insights in under an hour. “Aerial Intelligence” is not just for construction, either. It has transformed insurance as well - inspections are done in minutes instead of hours, and thermal imagery can detect issues like heat and hail damage. No wonder Salesforce Ventures made their first ever hardware investment in Kespry in 2019, adding to their $61M in funding.
Mountain View, CA
Founded in 2011
Matternet made headlines in 2017 as the first company in the world to be authorized for urban aerial delivery. During the COVID-19 crisis, the company made headlines again when it partnered with UPS and CVS to provide contactless delivery of prescription medicine to The Villages, Florida - the largest retirement community in the U.S. Their M2 drones are in the process of FAA’s Type Certification for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and are nearing the final stages of the process. Daimler is just one investor backing Matternet, which has raised over $25M to date.
Redwood City, CA
Founded in 2014
Think consumer drones are all fun and games? Think again. The Skydio 2 drone uses advanced AI capable of 1.3 trillion operations per second, allowing it to fly autonomously while keeping you in frame as you snowboard (or ski, or bike) down a mountain. That tech isn’t only for consumers, though, and is used on worksites and by first responders. The 100+ person company has raised $70M in capital.
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