2022 drone stocks: drone companies investors are watching this year

Private investment in the drone industry is at record highs. Yet even if you’re not a venture capitalist, you can still get in on investing in drones. That said, many of the hottest drone companies, including DJI and Skydio are not publicly traded, yet fortunately, there are plenty of others. German-based drone analytics firm Drone Industry Insights put together a list of 2022 drone stocks, showcasing the drone companies of interest this year.

Note that this is not investment advice, neither is this a list of necessarily the best-performing investments. It’s up to you to decide what stocks to actually put your money in. But if you know you want to invest in the drone industry, here are the 2022 drone stocks that you should know:

Popular drone stocks in 2022

Drone Industry Insights put together a list of some of the most popular drone companies as of late, noting their share prices as of April 2, 2022 alongside their 52-week range to give you an idea of their best and worst performances over the past year. Many of these stocks — aside from some of the most established players like AeroVironment — are trading under $10 a share. Here’s DII’s list (you can download the full size here), ranked by market capitalization:

2022 drone stocks
Stock prices as of April 2, 2022. Graphic courtesy of Drone Industry Insights.

Within the drone industry comes a diversity of companies (and 2022 drone stocks to invest in). Some companies build drones, while others build software that powers them. Others use drones as a service, whether it’s making maps or delivering items. Some drone companies are even focused on delivering, yes, people.

Drone hardware companies to know

Aerovironment: Trading at around $100 as of early April 2022, this company has by far the highest share price of any drone company listed on an American stock exchange. AeroVironment makes drones for military and enterprise customers, and has been in the news as of late for making drones used to support Ukraine.

Draganfly: Draganfly is headquartered in Saskatoon, Canada, has been building drone hardware, software and sensors for the past 20 years, though it only made its IPO in November 2019. It’s also getting involved in supporting Ukraine with its medical response drones. Other projects have included a partnership with the Drone Racing League to launch an ‘innovation lab’ to research what a drone pilot’s heart rate is like during a flight.

The company has also taken on some controversial work, especially around a partnership with Vital Intelligence to install health assessment systems on drones that would fly around entertainment complexes, shopping centers, and workplaces. The sensors on those drones would measure visitors’ vital signs like temperature, cough, and respiratory rate to identify what Draganfly calls ‘high-risk visitors,’ but some have also called out such projects as being invasive to privacy.

A Parrot Bebop drone

Parrot: Parrot makes drones for consumers and enterprise customers alike. Its products include the Bebop drones designed for beginners, while also encompassing seriously enterprise software thanks to acquisitions of companies including Pix4D.

Airobotics: Airobotics is the first company in the world to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, as licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel, and it builds drones for use cases including mining, refineries, seaports and the oil and gas industries.

Drone delivery companies to know

Sure, you could invest in Alphabet or Amazon to capitalize on their drone delivery efforts, but those are actually fairly diverse investments given the range of work those companies do. If you’re looking to invest in a drone delivery company specifically, you might first think of some of the biggest drone delivery companies making headlines in the U.S., including Flytrex, Zipline or Manna. Alas, none of those companies are publicly traded. But these ones are:

Drone Delivery Canada: Drone Delivery Canada positions itself as “a complete turnkey logistics solution,” thanks to its proprietary software system called FLYTE working in tandem with hardware and professional services to provide drone-led cargo delivery. The company can claim a number of firsts including:

  • First drone delivery company in Canada to become certified as a “Compliant Operator” by Transport Canada.
  • First delivery drone to meet Transport Canada’s “compliant unmanned aircraft” standards.
  • First publicly traded drone delivery company to be granted a domestic cargo licence under the Canada Transportation Act (“CTA”) and Air Transport Regulations (Canada).

Nordic Unmanned: This drone company offers delivery, as well as other services such as data analysis of infrastructure, and flying, gathering and processing of photogrammetry and LiDAR data. Among its delivery projects include a logistics contract with Equinor for offshore drone services on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. That project involves cargo flights between a supply base and the Gullfaks field, located 170 km offshore.

Passenger drone stocks to know

A huge chunk of venture capital investment within the drone industry has been dedicated to passenger drones. On some levels, building passenger drones is one of the most expensive areas of the drone industry. It’s harder to deliver people than packages, after all (and more crucial to do it directly). Yet there’s also a precedent for interest. We know air travel is important — so air travel where a pilot doesn’t have to work could be a natural extension into the future.

Across three different stock markets, there are a total of six passenger drone companies. All six have market caps of at least $700 million, while four have market caps exceeding one billion. Among the most interesting of those are:

Joby: It’s impossible to ignore Joby, which is the largest drone company by market cap. Santa Cruz-based Joby Aviation famously acquired Uber Elevate back in December 2020. It was founded in 2009 and made its IPO in August 2021. The company says it is aiming to have its FAA Part 135 Air Carrier and Operator Certification by the end of the year, which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration for a company to operate as a non-scheduled air charter carrier. While shares are down overall for the past year, they rose by 28.8% in March in light of that news, as well as a tentative timeline to launch an aerial rideshare service as early as 2024.

Ehang: Many investment advisors suggest staying away from Ehang stock given both its volatility, as well as frequent pivots internally. The company has tried to build everything from consumer-focused camera drones (which weren’t very good) to human-toting, flying taxis.

Other passenger drone stocks of note are Eve Air Mobility, which is set to begin in the second quarter of 2022, as well as helicopter service provider Blade Urban Air Mobility which is already listed.

Should you invest in drone stocks in 2022?

The stock market has been wildly volatile as of late, so do your own research before investing in any of these (or any) stocks. But volatility can also be a time to make gains. And given the recent news around Remote ID, UTM and more, 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for drones. Only a crystal ball knows if it’ll also be a good year for drone stocks.

If you want to learn more about investing, check out this guide from NerdWallet on How to Buy Stocks.

What drone stocks are you watching this year? Leave a comment below!

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