The 2019 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers have been announced, and two of them are drone companies.
Each year, the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers brings together early to growth-stage companies that are advancing new technologies across the board, including driverless trucks, quantum computing, blockchain and more.
Out of the 56 companies selected this year, two of them are drone companies: Airobotics and Volocopter.
Airobotics, which was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz. has created a enterprise and government-level focused drone. It’s the world’s first regulatory compliant commercial drone (though DJI just launched a government targeted drone of their own). The drone is capable of high-frequency data collection, processing, visualization and analysis.
Volocopter, founded in 2011 and based in Bruchsal, Germany, is working on a drone designed to be able to carry humans. Other major players, like Uber Elevate, have also tapped into human-carrying drone research.
As part of their role in being one of the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, the companies will participate over two-years in activities and events that bring “cutting-edge insights and fresh thinking to critical global discussions,” according to a statement from WEF. Companies were selected for their potential to “transform their industries” and “improve society for years to come,” said WEF’s Fulvia Montresor.
The 56 companies were selected by a committee of about five dozen academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives, and were evaluated based on their innovation, potential impact and leadership.
While 2019’s two drone companies are still relatively unknown in the tech community, they could be huge, given WEF’s track record in selecting companies as their tech pioneers. Past recipients have included Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Palantir Technologies, Spotify, TransferWise, Twitter and Wikimedia.
And the companies have already been making big waves in the drone industry. Airobotics, which also has offices in Israel and Australia, raised a whopping $30 million in investor funding in 2018, one of the largest drone industry investments made that year. Airobotics was also named by The Wall Street Journal as one of 25 emerging leaders in tech for 2018. The company already has hundreds of employees, including Richard Wooldridge, who previously served as COO at Facebook’s Building 8, which worked to build experimental hardware products such as augmented reality glasses.