Use of drones for getting materials across difficult terrains is a familiar picture to all of us. The usage of drones can be dated back to World War 1 where they have carried out their respective tasks in unimaginable terrains in the most efficient manner. Over the last few years, drones have become an important part of many businesses like photography and delivery systems.
Drones have especially become popular when it comes to packaging delivery operations as it saves a lot of money on manpower, operations and maintenance. Moreover, it also reduces the room for mistakes. It is expected that global package delivery operations will be valued at over 6000 million dollars by the end of 20206, growing at a rate of 53% every year from 2021 to 2026.
In view of these dazzling statistics, several drone delivery startups have mushroomed globally in a very short span of time. This article will look at the drone delivery startups that are based in the United States.
1. Mighty Fly
Founder: Manal Habib, and Scott Parker
Founded in 2019, Mighty Fly delivers supplies to medicines, spare parts, and the mining and gas industries. Apart from delivering goods to remote locations with the help of heavy cargo aircraft, they also provide customised drone services.
This drone delivery startup was founded by Manal Habib, and Scott Parker and has its headquarters in San Francisco. They hope to restructure the ways in which logistics were perceived through efficient designs and plans in a cost-effective manner.
2. UPS Flight Forward
Founder: Myron Scott Wright
UPS Flight Forward is a drone delivery service by UPS that focuses primarily on delivering medical supplies to different regions across the United States. They have expanded their base by partnering with various other similar firms like Matternet, CVS, WingCopter etc so as to make the most out of this next-generation technology.
Founder: Hannan Parvizian and Wesley Zheng
One of the top drone delivery and aerial logistics company Volansi is based in California and was founded by Hannan Parvizian and Wesley Zheng in 2015. They are specialised in delivering shipments over long ranges. Since they have fixed delivery routes, the customers can get their deliveries within a very short span of time.
Their long-range services have helped in expanding drone delivery services even to very remote areas. Recently they released VOLY 50 series, which is an unmanned, multi-role, VTOL aircraft that has a better flight range and flexible payloads.
Founder: Andreas Raptopoulos
Headquartered in California, Matternet offers completely automated drone services that are available on-demand. Their drones are completely powered by batteries. They were the first ones to power vaccine drone delivery in the US.
Matternet has developed easy-to-use stations across operational routes so as to ensure proper battery exchange and automated payload. They have received total funding of USD 31,140,701 as of October 2021.
Founders: Ahmed Haider, Matthew Sweeny, and Tom Bass
Founded by Ahmed Haider, Matthew Sweeny, and Tom Bass, Flirtey provides an independent drone delivery service to deliver mail, food and medicines. It was founded in 2013. They use automated drones. This small step has saved the startup a lot of money that would have otherwise been spent on cumbersome logistics and operations.
Apart from their path-breaking vision, they are also the first startup to carry out an FAA-approved drone delivery in the US. They are also the first ones to have a commercial drone delivery service in the US as well.
Founders: Keenan Wyrobek, Keller Rinaudo and Will Hetzler
Zipline is one of the most popular drone delivery startups in the US. They are known for their automated drones that carry out the delivery of blood and other important medical supplies.
They have a network of hospitals that are in turn connected to the patients who will require these supplies on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. These deliveries are carried out by leveraging proprietary fixed winged drones. It was founded in 2014 by Keenan Wyrobek, Keller Rinaudo and Will Hetzler.
7. Shield AI
Founders: Ryan Tseng and Brandon Tseng
Founded in 2014, Shield AI is headquartered in San Franciso. They manufacture autonomous drones that are used for patrolling and surveillance. They have also developed a deep neural network-based system that suits them best for battlefield applications. They primarily cater to first respondents and law enforcement personnel.
8. Google Wing
The Wing is a subsidiary of Alphabet that provides drone delivery services over small ranges. They are the first ones to receive air carrier certification from FAA. Their drones can carry small packets that weigh less than 3.1 pounds. They ensure that the customers don’t come into contact with these drones by delivering packages 20 feet above the ground.
Founders: Ian Smith and Joseph Moster
Founded by Ian Smith and Joseph Moster, Ware focuses on self-flying autonomous drones. They have blended their expertise in robotics and machine learning for better delivery experiences. They have connected various distribution centres with respective warehouses so as to make the process of delivery smooth.
Drone delivery package systems have paved the way for the inception of many startups in the United States of America. Apart from the growth of technology and required logistics, the government is also very supportive of the developments. Various rules and regulations that ensure the safety and security of the people associated with this system encourage better research and innovation in this region.
Apart from that distribution is an inexhaustible area which only expands with the passage of time. In that case, there will not be any shortage of funding as well. If you look at all the startups that were mentioned above, each one of them is extensively funded by multiple investors which is evidently reflected in the kind of work that they do. The drone delivery system is a budding area of technology that has the potential to reduce global geographical disparity.
In our attempts to create a global village out of this world, the strengthening of drones and related AI platforms is of prime importance. However, it is also to be noted that the technology that serves the people through drones can also be misused for various illegal activities. Hence, while research and development in this area are encouraged, it is also important to institute appropriate checks and balances. In that way, this budding technology can benefit the whole of humanity.
What is the biggest drone delivery company?
UPS Flight Forward, DHL Parcelcopter, Wing, Matternet, Zipline, Flytrex, and Flirtey are some of the leading drone delivery startups.
Which company started drone delivery?
Wing by Alphabet was the first company that launched its commercial drone delivery service in October 2019.
What companies are leading drone technology?
DJI, Yuneec, Skydio, and Kespry are some of the leading drone companies in the world.
Is drone delivery the future?
Yes, Drones have proven to be great for many logistics companies around the world. In the near future, we might witness drones delivering medicines, food and much more.