China is not the leading country when it comes to developing drone platforms — but they are No. 2.
The No. 1 country in terms of developing the most number of unique drone models is actually the United States. That’s according to a study released by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Danish Technological Institute, based on data collected in November 2018.
The United States leads the way in terms of most number of unique drone models (the U.S. has developed 628 unique drone models). China, which is none for its major drone companies including DJI, PowerVision, Yuneec and Autel, ranks second but only accounts for half as many actual drones, having developed a total of 309 unique drone models.
Though that could change.
“Developments of consumer platforms appear to be growing in China compared to other parts of the world, (reflecting) the general expansion of the Chinese consumer market for other products as well,” according to the report.
But when it comes to continents with the most drone development, Europe takes the cake. That’s perhaps due to the fact that it has a number of small countries developing drones, including the Baltic country of Latvia, which is home to AirDog, which designs an action-sports drone that “follows-you,” Aerones and AirBoard. Germany and France have also been leaders in the drone industry, home to companies like France’s Delair and Germany’s Skysense, which makes portable drone landing pads.
What’s interesting about the U.S. is that drone development isn’t concentrated in Silicon Valley, which you may expect. While there are plenty of dronemakers in California, much of the development is done on the east coast of the United States near Washington, D.C. The report indicated that was because the U.S. drone development is highly focused on drones for military purposes.