Fast Company just published their list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. The list covers more than 350 enterprises across 36 categories, such as the world’s most valuable firm and its continuing transformation of consumer electronics to a small outfit selling natural gum to preserve rainforests. This year Fast Company recognized Chinese drone manufacturer, DJI as one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2018 and one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in China.

DJI recognized as innovator in the drone industry

DJI’s rankings on these ‘Most Innovative Companies’ lists are quite a feat as they contain many very innovative companies and the competition in tech, let alone drones, is fierce.

DJI ended up on spot 35 on the list of Top 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2018, right behind the Compass Group, a multi-billion dollar company that runs thousands of cafeterias around the world in school, stadiums, and museums. The top spot went to Apple, followed by Netflix and Square.

DJI took the third place on the list of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in China. Tencent and VIPKid took the number one and two spots.

The company profile that Fast Company put together highlights the DJI Spark (review) with its gesture controls, 3D vision sensor technology, as well as its use of machine learning and computer vision. Another big contributor to DJI’s success has been the introduction of the DJI Mavic Air with improved obstacle avoidance sensing and Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS).

DJI’s new gesture-controlled Spark drone “isn’t just about a short-term sales opportunity,” says Michael Perry. “It’s about getting more people familiar with and excited about drone technology.”

DJI has been recognized by Fast Company in previous years. The drone maker was on the Robotics list in 2017, Drones in 2016, and Top 50 and Consumer Electronics in 2015. Notably, there was no ‘drones’ category in 2018.

DroneDJ’s take

The competition in the drone industry is fierce and even though DJI has a market share of more than two-thirds, new competitors always show up. Skydio is a good example of a new competitor who is challenging DJI when it comes to obstacle avoidance and autonomous flying drones. Instead of pilot assistance, Skydio went for a fully autonomous flying drone and based on the videos it seems that they may have succeeded. The point here being is that even large companies, like DJI, can be surprised by new players that bring innovative technology to the market. We hope to be reviewing the R1 drone soon.

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Note II: If you are in the market for the new DJI Mavic Air, check out this article with tips on where you can buy it.

Photo: Michael Marcelle

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