Initially developed and used mainly for military combat, unmanned aircraft and drones have become widely adopted in a variety of industries. From photography and product delivery to modelling and agriculture, the commercial drone market holds tremendous potential and has grown exponentially in recent years . According to a PwC study, as of this year the global non-military drone market is valued at $127 billion.
As a top developer of drone technology, and a leading global exporter of military drones, Israel has leveraged its know-how to develop a significant commercial drone market, with some startups in the industry generating international headlines for their innovative tech solutions.
With just over 60 drone startups in the Israeli tech ecosystem, according to Start-Up Nation Finder let’s take a look at eight of them that have been flying high.
Founded in 2013 by Yariv Bash and Amit Regev, Flytrex developed technology used in a drone delivery service that quickly transports food and consumer goods to clients. Drones can be equipped with different-sized containers that can carry anything from pizza to toys to six-packs of beer. The service has already been adopted in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, where the drones deliver food and consumer products along 13 routes.
More recently, Flytrex began delivering refreshments to Americans golfers at the King’s Walk Golf Course outside Grand Forks, North Dakota. Flytrex will deliver food and beverages from King Walk’s restaurant, Eagles Crest Grill, which will be lowered down to patrons in specific locations as they make their rounds.
Bash said earlier this year that the company is “going to change the way we consume goods.”
Percepto develops safety drones that allow militaries, refineries, ports, energy power plants, and other industrial sites to perform around the clock inspection of their facilities without human-interference.
Notably, in addition to the aerial vehicle and video camera, the service also contains a base that facilitates drone communication, as well as a cloud management platform that routes missions, manages fleets of drones and alerts users of dangers. These features allow Percepto to operate constantly without human-intervention, providing its users convenience at a lowered cost.
Earlier this month, Percepto won the 2018 Global Enabling Technology Leadership Award by Frost & Sullivan for “employing machine vision algorithms in its proprietary Sparrow drones as part of its complete autonomous drone-in-a-box system.”
The Sparrow was “designed specifically to operate in harsh industrial environments, a rarity in today’s drone landscape,” said Percepto CEO and co-founder Dor Abuhasira in a statement last year
Founded in 2014 by Abuhasira, Percepto originally targeted sports enthusiasts seeking to capture footage of themselves without physically holding a video capturing device.
Similar to Percepto, Airobotics also provides routine inspection, surveillance and mapping tools for industrial facilities through a video-camera drone. Founded in 2014 by Ran Krauss and Meir Kliner, Airobotics developed a pilotless, fully automated drone solution that collects pertinent aerial data, allowing industrial facilities to gain invaluable insights quickly.
Last year, it became the first company in the world with authorization to fly commercially in the tightly secured Israeli airspace.
Last month, Airbobotics opened its US headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company, which has raised over $70 million in funding, already has offices in Australia, as well as some operations in Chile and New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean. It employs 250 people across the world and plans to add 80 more jobs in Arizona by the end of 2019.
Earlier this year, Airobotics partnered with engineering company Rockblast to distribute autonomous drone systems in Chile, where it is being used to improve the safety and operations of Minera Centinela, one of the country’s leading mining companies.
The Wall Street Journal also named Airobotics as one of the Top 25 Tech Companies to Watch in 2018.Earlier this year, it won the 2018 Global New Product Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan.