What are the biggest drone delivery companies of 2023? Almost exactly this time 10 years ago, the experts might have predicted that it would be Amazon. After all, the online retail giant made waves when then-CEO Jeff Bezos promised that his people would build a system that could deliver packages to your doorstep via drone within 30 minutes of the order being placed.
But while Amazon has done some small-scale drone delivery test projects, it’s hardly a large drone delivery company at all — especially compared to these competitors.
As it does every year, German-based drone analytics firm Drone Industry Insights sought to find the biggest drone delivery companies of 2023. To come up with those names, DII evaluated drone delivery companies based on three criteria, which are:
- Company size and development (growth)
- Public interest (media coverage)
- Financial data (where available)
After merging those metrics, DII was able to name the top five drone delivery companies of 2023, which are:
- Zipline (based in U.S.)
- Wing (based in U.S.)
- Matternet (based in U.S.)
- Swoop Aero (based in Australia)
- Manna (based in Ireland)
Once again, Zipline comes out as the No. 1 biggest drone delivery company in the world. It claimed the same title in 2022, in 2021, in 2020. Oh yes, it also claimed the title in 2019 and 2018. In short, it’s been giant and it continues to remain giant.
In fact, at the end of October, Zipline announced a critical partnership with Cleveland Clinic to use drones to deliver certain medications directly to patients’ homes around Northeast Ohio, starting in 2025. To kick those deliveries off on schedule, Zipline and Cleveland Clinic will begin working with government officials next year to ensure compliance with all safety and technical requirements for drone delivery. It also said it has plans to start installing docks and loading portals for its Platform 2 drone system, which will execute the deliveries.
That said, this year Zipline lost ground on its dominance of the drone delivery market, as others gain ground. Swoop Aero entered the top five ranking for the first time ever this year, even managing to overtake Manna.
We hear a lot about those five drone delivery companies, and for good reason. Walmart recently added Wing as a drone delivery partner (adding on to existing partnerships it has with other drone delivery companies including DroneUp, Flytrex and Zipline). Zipline just received FAA approval to fly its Sparrow drone beyond visual line of sight.
Other drone delivery companies to watch out for in 2024
Beyond those five, what other companies are making moves? There are a few other ones to watch out for in particular. Spright gained five spots in 2023’s ranking versus 2022. UPS Flight Forward gained an even-heftier six spots. Korea’s Pablo Air and Italy’s FlyingBasket also grew five spots in the rankings.
Another fairly big name, Flytrex, also just scored a big win recently when it announced on Oct. 31 that its Causey Aviation Unmanned (CAU) had received an exemption from the FAA to remotely fly drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) without visual observers. That authorization puts it in the league of others including Phoenix Air Unmanned, UPS Flight Forward, uAvionix and Zipline, which already have such BVLOS approval. What’s interesting about Flytrex, specifically, is that this is the first approval of its kind extended to an exclusively food delivery service, setting the stage for mass scaling of CAU and Flytrex’s operations throughout the US.
In short, that means the potential for more food deliveries via drone in more places.