5 Major Drone Manufacturers Powering the Industry

From London to Los Angeles, drones are filling the skies, as both hobbyists and commercial users alike embrace their endless possibilities.

These flying wonders deliver online orders, provide security solutions, produce unmatched cinematic shots, search for lost hikers, and make inspecting critical infrastructure a breeze.

So, have you ever wondered who’s making all these drones?

While there are near-endless uses for UAVs, without designers, engineers, and companies pushing the limits of possibility, none of this would be possible.

To fill consumer demand, there are numerous drone manufacturers around the globe producing commercial drones.

Some create drones for multiple commercial uses, while others specialize in UAVs designed for a specific task.

Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned pilot, it’s always worth looking at some of the biggest and most innovative drone manufacturers out there.

Though there are countless smaller companies, these are the ones you’ll mostly likely encounter.

So, in no particular order, let’s jump in and see who’s creating the drones we all know and love.

DJI – The Largest of the Drone Manufacturers

You really can’t talk about commercial drones without talking about DJI.

Based in China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen, DJI absolutely dominates the drone market.

They may have lost some of the market to Skydio and Autel Robotics in recent years, but make no mistake – DJI is the big kid on the block. Even though rising newcomers have cut into DJI’s market share over the last two or three years, they still control 76% of the market.

DJI offers cutting-edge commercial drones for all levels of users.

Many commercial drone pilots, including myself, started their drone service business with the DJI Phantom series, and now use the Mavic, Inspire, and Matrice series UAVs.

Being big definitely has its advantages, and DJI uses its size and resources to continually produce new drones, improved hardware, and the latest software to keep their competition on their toes. 

Skydio – Leading the Way in Autonomy

When you hear the name Skydio, you can’t help but think of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy.

 Since 2014, Skydio has designed, built, and serviced its drones in the United States.

The company’s Skydio 2+ is an excellent drone for commercial pilots. They also offer the Skydio X2 for defense and public safety clients. 

But, what really makes Skydio stand out is their drones’ ability to function almost independently of a pilot. While you’ll always have control of the aircraft, the UAV’s sensors and software help to maneuver around just about anything, from branches to telephone poles.

Although the need for proper training will always remain, the days of spending hours of flight time mastering the sticks is gone.

In fact, Skydio’s technology is so reliable that the FAA granted them the first-ever Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) waiver – truly a major accomplishment for the company.

Night scene of a city with the lights of a drone light show in the sky
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Yuneec has been in the aerospace industry since 1999.

In UAV industry years, that may as well be since the dawn of aviation, and they still had the third-highest market share as of Q1 2021. This drone manufacturer’s first out-of-the-box-ready drone hit the market in 2014: the Typhoon Q500.

The drone was so far ahead of its time that Intel invested in the company only one year later. 

Their latest release was in November 2020: the H520E and H520E RTK. These are hexacopters (six propellors instead of the more commonly used four) with the commercial user in mind.

For enterprise clients who need extended range, greater computing power, and more precise navigation features, they’re a welcome addition to the fleet.

Autel Robotics

Since the release of the X-Star in 2015, Autel Robotics has grown into a major player in the UAV industry.

The company’s flagship offering, the EVO II series, has become a favorite of many commercial drone pilots.

The enterprise versions offer Real-Time Kinetic (RTK) positioning for pinpoint surveys & mapping, attachments like spotlights and speakers (perfect for public safety), and radiometric thermal imaging.  

Unlike many of its competitors, Autel Robotics offers a larger-scale commercial drone with its Dragonfish series.

A unique tilt-rotor design simplifies operation and allows for improved performance and efficiency. Clients will appreciate incredible 180-minute flight times (with a payload), an 18.6-mile transmission range, and excellent cameras.

Autel is truly evolving into one of the foremost leaders in the drone industry today.


In many ways, drone manufacturer Parrot has grown along with the commercial drone market.

If you’ve been in the industry for a few years, you might remember Parrot’s early start with drones like the Bebop and Mambo (I think mine is still somewhere on the roof).

Though these early models were more like toys than commercially capable drones, they were still pretty cool technology for the time.

As customer needs matured, the company began to focus on commercial products. And, they’ve certainly come a long way since their first offerings.

Parrot’s flagship ANAFI series provides options for RGB, thermal, and dual capabilities in the military version – the ANAFI USA.

Their latest offering, the ANAFI Ai, is a partnership between Verizon, Parrot, and Skyward, making the ANAFI Ai the first off-the-shelf drone to connect to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Drone Manufacturers are Always Evolving

As consumer demand grows & attitudes towards drones continue to improve, drone manufacturers constantly evolve to keep pace and push the limits of technology.

Whether camera improvements, software developments, or automation implementation, there’s always something new to discover.

And, as the drone market grows, new companies are sure to arise and offer something new.

With so many companies offering commercial drones, it’s understandable if you have trouble deciding which one is best for your organization’s needs.

So, which drone is right for you? And, how do you get started? Do you hire out or bring your drone program in-house?

At Consortiq, we help you find a better way with drones, from consultation and program implementation to actually doing the work for you.

Ready to learn more? Just complete the form below to schedule a risk-free consultation!

Picture of David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

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