06 February 2024
Our second annual Droning Awards are ready for their close-ups!
Here are the pilots, companies, innovations, educational resources, service organizations, and more that The Droning Company community and its staff selected as the "Toppermost of the Poppermost" (to quote John Lennon) for their achievements in 2023.
Now, let's reveal and celebrate our 2023 Droning Award winners (no flash photography, please) ...
Best Enterprise Drone
Draganfly Commander 3XL
The Draganfly Commander 3XL has won the Best Enterprise Drone award for the second year in a row and for good reason. The Commander 3 XL is one of the most capable enterprise drones on the market today and earns its nickname of “Swiss Army Knife of Drones” through its broad compatibility with a wide array of sensors and payloads as well as the ability to carry multiple payloads in a single mission. Draganfly’s innovation and commitment to excellence is the reason they are back-to-back champions in this category and will be a strong favorite for years to come.
Best Prosumer Drone
DJI Mavic 3 Pro
The DJI Mavic 3 Pro took the world by storm when it was released in 2023. Boasting a 4/3 sensor with three different camera lenses, it was undoubtedly the most capable prosumer category drone the world has ever seen. The three lenses include a 24mm wide lens, a 70mm medium tele camera, and a 166mm tele camera, providing a maximized range of potential use cases for photo and video production. Additionally, the fantastic flight time, dependable flight characteristics, and overall user-friendly interface mean the DJI Mavic 3 Pro was a shoe-in for the 2023 Best Prosumer Drone award.
Best Consumer Drone
DJI Mini 4 Pro
The DJI Mini 4 Pro doubled-down on the excitement generated by its calendar predecessor’s (the Mavic 3 Pro) release by hitting the shelves chalk-full of high-quality features. One of the most notable is the camera sensor, which is a 1/1.3” CMOS sensor that utilizes Bayer processing via stacked sensor technology. This means the Mini 4 Pro is capable of producing incredible quality photos and videos with a smaller-than-expected sensor. Combine that performance with the convenience of the mini drone platform and reliability of the DJI user interface and flight experience, and you have a recipe for the 2023 winner of the Best Consumer Drone category.
Best FPV Drone
Lumineer QAV – S 2 Joshua Bardwell SE 5”
FPV drones are so difficult to vote on because they vary so widely. That’s why we focused on the pre-built variety of drones when casting nominations for the category and the moment we saw the Lumineer QAV – S 2 Joshua Bardwell SE 5”, we knew it would be a strong contender in the category. Our favorite part of this drone is the learning guide for assembly and build-out. Not only do you receive a high-quality drone with the official stamp of approval from FPV Guru Joshua Bardwell, but you receive step-by-step guidance on how to build the drone from his brilliant mind as well! Any time there is an opportunity to learn and get great value, we are a big fan and apparently so are our readers because this drone won the Best FPV Drone category hands-down!
Best Hybrid Drone
The Skyfront Perimeter is an innovative long-range hybrid-electric drone designed for endurance and reliability in various mission scenarios. With its impressive multi-hour flight capabilities, the Perimeter excels in applications such as surveillance, mapping, and inspections, where extended operation times are crucial. Boasting advanced technologies, including redundant systems and efficient power management, the Skyfront Perimeter stands out as a dependable solution for industries requiring robust and long-duration aerial performance. That’s why it was chosen by our readers as the winner of the 2023 Best Hybrid Drone award.
Best Hydrogen Drone
Anytime any form of transportation or vehicles are brought up, the conversation will inevitably lead to fuel-efficiency and alternate forms of propulsion. In the world of drones we tend to work backwards from battery technology into more traditional fuel sources such as gasoline and, in this case, hydrogen. The Sensus M4-H2 came out on-top in this category with a stout spec sheet of features and capabilities – including an 800W hydrogen fuel cell for its power source. This cell is used to power the guts of the drone along with 4 motors for a total maximum flight time of 90-minutes per clip. Looking at that and its impressive maximum payload of 1.5kg compared to a total fuselage weight (with fuel cell) of 8.0kg and a service ceiling of 3500m, it’s no wonder it takes home the award for Best Hydrogen Drone in 2023.
Best Tactical Drone
Skydio X 10
Skydio recently made an interest decision to pull-out of the consumer drone sector to focus exclusively on enterprise and commercial solutions. While it remains to be seen if that decision was a good one long-term, readers are certainly convinced that the Skydio X 10 is the best tactical drone on the market – and we can’t blame them! Featuring 5G connectivity, obstacle avoidance all the way around, and several different sensors built for different scenarios, including a thermal sensor, this is an extremely capable tactical drone and comes out on top of the 2023 Best Tactical Drone category.
Most Innovative Drone Design
The Pterodynamics Transwing drone stands out as a pioneering example of cutting-edge design in the realm of unmanned aerial vehicles. Its innovative design is characterized by a unique transwing mechanism, inspired by the biomechanics of birds and pterosaurs. This transformative feature allows the drone to seamlessly transition between vertical takeoff and horizontal flight modes, offering unparalleled versatility in navigating diverse environments. The flexible wings can dynamically adjust their configuration, optimizing aerodynamics for efficient cruising or hovering. This adaptability makes it one of the most flexible (pun intended) drone platforms on the market and is why readers chose it as the 2023 winner of the Most Innovative Drone Design award.
Top Featured Pilot of the Year
The Droning Company member Joanna Steidle’s stunning drone video work with the marine life off the coast of Long Island has made her the recipient of the Global Women to Watch List 2022 in the drone industry by Women and Drones taking the Visual Arts category. In 2022, she won the Southern California Drone Film Festival, Thunderbird Drone Film Festival, and International World Photography Award. Her work has been featured by DJI, US Veteran Affairs,The Weather Channel, Fox News, Yahoo News, and most recently she won the “Best in Photography” at the 2023 Arizona Drone Film Festival. A most worthy recipient of this year’s Droning Awards “Top Featured Pilot of the Year”.
Best Droning Company Featured Video Reel
We may be a bit biased, but we also know that our very own Sam Karp is one of the best when it comes to cinematic FPV flying. This shows through in his submission for Featured Reels this year with a beautiful and cinematic flight experience in Colorado. Beautiful landscapes featuring breathtaking mountains, untouched snow, and the vastness of nature, all captured superbly by our in-house FPV expert. We love Sam and our readers loved his work, as he wins the 2023 award for the Best Droning Company Featured Video Reel.
Best Drone Education
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is renowned for providing an exceptional education in the field of aeronautics and aviation. The institution's cutting-edge curriculum, expert faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities create a dynamic learning environment where students receive hands-on training and theoretical knowledge. With a strong emphasis on aerospace innovation and industry relevance, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has convinced our readers that they are the Best Drone Education institution in 2023.
Best Drone Insurance
Skywatch drone insurance is the 2023 award-winner for Best Drone Insurance and stands out for its comprehensive coverage and innovative approach to meeting the evolving needs of drone operators. With customizable policies and transparent pricing, Skywatch ensures that drone owners receive tailored coverage that suits their specific requirements. The platform's user-friendly interface, coupled with advanced risk assessment technology, streamlines the insurance process, providing drone pilots with peace of mind and efficient claims management.
Best Drone Podcast
Dawn of the Drones
The Dawn of the Drones podcast is a captivating exploration of the world of unmanned aerial vehicles, offering listeners insightful discussions on the latest developments, trends, and innovations in drone technology. Hosted by Dawn Zoldi, the podcast delves into diverse topics, ranging from cutting-edge drone applications to regulatory updates and fascinating stories from the field. With engaging interviews and expert insights, the Dawn of the Drones podcast serves as an invaluable resource for both seasoned professionals and those looking to delve into the exciting realm of drone technology. Readers seem to agree with our assessment, crowing Dawn of the Drones as the 2023 Best Drone Podcast.
Best LIDAR Camera
For the 2nd year in a row Yellowscan’s Voyager takes home the award for Best LIDAR camera.Voyager provides LiDAR functionality for those who require less than 1-centimeter precision from their scanners. The YellowScan Voyager can acquire up to 15 target echoes, an approximate range of up to 2,500 feet, and a field of view of 100-degrees. After producing the most powerful LiDAR solution it has ever made, YellowScan won the 2023 award for Best LiDAR Scanner with their Voyager platform.
Best LIDAR Drone
The BLK2FLY by Leica offers cutting-edge LiDAR technology in a portable and reliable UAV solution. Featuring a class 1 laser, an IP54 rating, direct upload to cloud storage, and more, this drone is one of the best when it comes to an all-in-one LiDAR solution. Because the BLK2FLY is so impressive, our readers voted it as this year’s winner of the Best LiDAR Drone award.
Best Thermal Drone
DJI Matrice 30T
The DJI Matrice 30T is yet again an impressive recent release by DJI. At almost two years old, this drone continues to impress with its hearty fuselage capable of operating in the harshest environments and circumstances, as well as a precision RGB and Thermal payload, there are few drones out there that are able to pair the power of thermal imaging with a compact and portable system that can withstand just about anything nature throws at it.
Best Search & Rescue Drone
Draganfly Commander 3 XL
The Commander 3XL continues to show why it is the future of the North American drone market by earning yet another award, this time for the Best Search & Rescue Drone of 2023. Draganfly is no stranger to having its UAV platforms utilized for search and rescue operations with one of the very first drone rescues recorded being made with an early Draganfly drone system – which you can see for yourself in the Smithsonian Museum. This rich history of protecting humanity via drone technology has translated through the generations and is making itself known in one of the latest drones released by Draganfly, the Commander 3 XL. Our readers seem to love Draganfly and the technology they bring to the table!
Best Drone Parachute Recovery System
Not only are Fruity Chutes host of one of the more interesting monikers in the drone industry, but they stand up year-after-year as one of the best drone recovery systems in the world. Utilizing cutting edge sensors and now the convenience of helping you check all of the boxes you need by offering you ASTM compliant preparation programs to ensure everything is covered and to help you mitigate risk and liabilities during flight. We love Fruity Chutes and our readers do too, which is why they win the Best Drone Parachute Recovery System for 2023.
Best Drone Accessories
Colorado Drone Chargers
Hoodman Landing Pads
In a history-making result, we have our first-ever tie for a Droning Company Award. The two companies and products going into the record books for this feat of shared excellence are Colorado Drone Chargers and Hoodman Landing Pads. Both companies are fixtures in the drone industry, offering top-of-the-line portable charging hubs and incredibly helpful landing pads respectively. With rock-solid reputations and even better products, its no wonder our readers were conflict and decided to award them both the 2023 award for Best Drone Accessories.
Best Beginner Drone
DJI Mini 2 SE
DJI does it again, combining high-performance with ease-of-use, this time exemplifying it for its peers in the rawest form – a best value beginner drone. The DJI Mini 2 SE is budget-friendly at just $299.00 on average for the base model, yet provides the typically uber-reliable flight experience that we have come to expect from DJI. Not to mention the camera is rock-solid as well, offering 2.7K maximum resolution! No matter where you want to go with drones, if you are a beginner looking to get started, our readers believe the DJI Mini 2 SE is the Most Affordable Beginner Drone of 2023 and it wasn’t even close.
Best Drone Controller
Autel Smart Controller
The Autel Smart Controller stands out as one of the best flight controllers in the GPS drone market. With an extremely bright and large screen, the interface with the Smart Controller is easy-to-read and never a bother while in-flight. Our readers have seen this controller in-action themselves whether by proxy via content on the internet or in-person on their own accord and they told us the Autel Smart Controller is the Best Drone Controller of 2023.
Best Power Washing Drone Company
Aquiline is very water-forward in its name, so it makes sense that they would manufacture an elite power washing drone. With plenty of options and a variety of high-quality features, Aquiline can provide a power washing drone to fit just about any need. That seems to ring true as our readers believe they are a perfect fit for Best Power Washing Drone Company in 2023.
Best Drone Expo
The Commercial UAV Expo
The Commercial UAV Expo is a premier event that brings together professionals from various industries to explore and showcase the latest advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drone technology. Attendees at the Expo have the opportunity to engage with leading experts, participate in educational sessions, and discover cutting-edge solutions for diverse applications, including surveying, mapping, construction, and infrastructure inspection. Renowned for its comprehensive coverage of the commercial drone ecosystem, the Commercial UAV Expo serves as a valuable platform for networking, learning, and staying abreast of the rapidly evolving drone industry. This is one of the many reasons we believe our readers voted the Commercial UAV Expo the Best Drone Expo of 2023.
Best Drone Reseller
Florida Drone Supply
When shopping for drones and drone accessories, a buyer considers many different factors to determine their best-fit option. Florida Drone Supply checks just about every box our readers could think of with a wide variety of products to choose from paired with incredible learning resources and best-in-class service after sale. That’s why they came out on top and won the Best Drone Reseller of 2023.
Best Drone Software
Another back-to-back champion, DroneDeploy continues to impress with their proprietary drone mapping and modeling software. While that is the company’s bread-and-butter, the fact is DroneDeploy has been offering a wider range of services to its subscribers and makes running and drone-based business easy and fun. Our readers seem to agree and decided that DroneDeploy deserves another nod as the Best Drone Software award winner.
Best Remote ID Module
Remote ID is a controversial topic in the United States especially. That said, it is a necessary part of flying commercially and because of that we all require a product that can provide us the compliance we need to get airborne. Dronetag continues to be one of the best Remote ID module providers in the game with the Dronetag Mini, Dronetag Beacon, and most recently the Dronetag BS (Basic Solution). While our readers may not love Remote ID, they have made it clear they love Dronetag, as they run away with the 2023 award for Best Remote ID Module.
Best FPV Drone Battery
Tattu R-line Version 5.0
When you speak to an FPV pilot, ask them what brand battery they use to power their drone. We and our readers are willing to bet the majority of them will say “Tattu.” Tattu has been a staple in the drone battery market, offering a wide variety of options for any size drone. In the world of FPV though, their premier product is the R-Line Version 5.0, which is what our readers chose as the Best FPV Drone Battery of 2023.
Best FPV Drone Motors
AOS RC Supernova
Designed for high-performance FPV drones, the AOS RC Supernova motors are some of the best in the game. Featuring a KV of 1980 and a 12N14P configuration, this motor is all about speed and precision. With its compact and lightweight design at just 31 grams, it's the perfect choice for your aerial adventures. Our readers agree with the specs and our assessment, so they win 2023 award for Best FPV Drone Motors.
Best Drone Detection System
At the heart of Bluvec's technology lies its advanced sensor fusion and artificial intelligence systems. By combining data from multiple sensors such as radar, radio frequency (RF) scanners, and visual recognition, Bluvec's counter drone UAV systems can accurately identify and classify drones, distinguishing them from other flying objects. This level of precision ensures that law enforcement agencies can differentiate between harmless drones and those that pose a potential threat. Bluevec tops them all by winning the 2023 award for Best Drone Detection System.
Best Delivery Drone
Draganfly Commander 3 XL
Drone delivery is one of the most popular use case ideas for UAV technology, yet it seems to be one of the more unattainable ones too. Draganfly cut through that speculative noise by creating the Commander 3 XL, a drone capable of carrying nearly its own weight (22lbs.) in potential payload. With power that raw, it’s easy to see that the Commander 3 XL would stand out and our readers saw it too, selecting this true “Swiss Army Knife” of drones as the Best Delivery Drone of 2023.
Best Drone Delivery System
A2Z Rapid Delivery System 2
The redesigned A2Z Drone Delivery RDST Longtail is a ready-to-fly, rainproof commercial delivery drone capable of carrying the boxes and parcels logistics operations are already using. With its payload flexibility, the RDST Longtail is ready to get to work making deliveries for residential parcel or food deliveries, drone-born water sampling programs, offshore logistics, search and rescue operations, open mines, solar farms, and more. This earns it a the 2023 award for Best Drone Delivery System courtesy of the votes cast by our readers.
Best Drone in a Box System
DJI Dock 2
The DJI Dock 2 is a revolutionary solution designed to enhance the capabilities of DJI drones by providing an automated and centralized charging station. This innovative technology allows compatible DJI drones to autonomously land and recharge, enabling extended flight durations and seamless deployment for various applications. The DJI Dock is particularly advantageous for applications such as surveillance, mapping, and security, where continuous drone operation is essential. It generated plenty of buzz and got our readers talking, especially when it came time to cast votes as this incredible product wins the Best Drone in a Box System in 2023.
Best Flying Car
Doroni Jetson One
Who needs George Jetson when you can just have access to your own flying car? Doroni is one of the leaders in the flying car race (pun intended), moving aggressively to produce and scale their idea for a two-person flying vehicle. Our readers loved the idea and are excited about the potential possessed by Doroni, so they get their vote of confidence for Best Flying Car in 2023.
Best Drone Funding Company
For the 2nd year in a row Amerifund was voted by our readers as the best funding company for both start-up and established drone businesses. Since 1995, Amerifund has focused on providing funding (equipment and working capital) for companies small and large throughout the United States and Canada. They provide funding for drones, UAVs, and UAS along with most other types of equipment.
Best Online Drone Forum
Chances are if you have had any questions that you need answered about flying a drone, you’ve seen or visited the MavicPilots forum. This supportive community is one of the best in the world, offering a sense of belonging to anyone who signs up and a wealth of experience and information for anyone seeking answers to a particular drone question. Our readers love MavicPilots.com and that has resulted in them winning the 2023 award for Best Online Drone Forum.
Best Instagram Drone Community
Women Who Drone
Representation is important in any scenario, but in an industry where women make up a very small percentage of the people working, it’s even more crucial that they have an organization that supports them and lifts them up. That’s where Women Who Drone comes in, offering a community for female drone professionals to lean on and find and offer support. One click on the Women Who Drone Instagram profile tells you all you need to know about the good the organization does for females in the industry and our readers admired that as they selected Women Who Drone for the 2023 award for Best Instagram Drone Community.
The Award for Humanitarian Drone Donations
Florida Drone Supply
Not only did they win the 2023 award for Best Drone Reseller, Florida Drone Supply also wins it for the 2023 Award for Humanitarian Drone Donations. Sending drones to causes and people who need them to make a difference is a pillar of Florida Drone Supply’s philosophy and love of the technology. They have shown incredible initiative in 2023 to ensure the right people and organizations have access to the best drone technology. That’s why readers selected Florida Drone Supply for the award and that’s why we all love them.