According to Graphical Research, the North America Commercial Drone Market size crossed USD 7 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 10% from 2021 to 2027. The growing widespread adoption of drones for commercial applications and relative technology developments is fueling the market growth. We find it super exciting to see how American leaders fight daily with all sorts of barriers to make their business stronger. This article spotlights 12 American CEOs to follow on LinkedIn as we believe their decisions and actions are constantly shaping the drone market.

Andreas Raptopoulos – Matternet

The mission of Matternet is to "make access to goods as frictionless and universal as access to information." This bold statement was made by the company founder and CEO, Andreas Raptopoulos, who was born in Greece and brought up in an entrepreneurial family. 

He has a degree in mechanical engineering and aeronautics. Over a few subsequent years, he managed to enrol at Imperial College, the Royal College of Art, and start a company that sold a patent to Sony. 

Since 2011 he has been at the helm of Matternet, creating products that enable other companies to establish and manage drone logistics networks for on-demand transportation of goods. 

In 2016 the company unveiled the autonomous M2 Drone delivery system, designed to carry payloads of up to 2 kilograms and 4 litres over distances of up to 20 kilometres, which has proven to be Matternet's top seller product ever since. 

This device was later coupled with the Matternet Station, i.e. an automated payload and battery exchange facility, to enable automated drone delivery. Moreover, Matternet developed a proprietary software platform for operating networks to generate routes, command, and manage assets.

By combining these three technical solutions and based on the significant experience gained by delivering medical samples in Switzerland under a contract with Swiss Post since 2017, Matternet with Andreas outstanding strategic leadership, managed to win over many global players, for example:

  • launch ground-breaking services, such as Covid-19 vaccine drone delivery in the United States in cooperation with UPS.

Andreas Raptopoulos - Matternet
Andreas Raptopoulos - CEO of Matternet
  • medical deliveries in Berlin in cooperation with Labor Berlin
  • drone logistics to be deployed in Tokyo in cooperation with Japan Airline
  • world's first city-wide drone network in Abu Dhabi in cooperation with UAE logistics companies and UAE department of Health

Follow Andreas here on Linkedin; he is not posting a lot, but it is always about drone-related innovation or the future of our cities when he does.

Dor Abuhasira – Percepto

Percepto's CEO, Dor Abuhasira is an excellent example of how a software engineer can build a successful company by finding a solution to a problem. So much that in just only eight years, the company grow from a one-person operation to a 150+ one.  

Percepto has been active on the UAV market since 2014 and has since grown to be one of the most promising drone-in-a-box companies in the world. It focuses on providing technical solutions that revolutionize how critical infrastructure and assets are inspected and monitored. 

The company provides services to multi-billion-dollar companies like Enel and Johnson Controls. In its product portfolio, there are autonomous UAVs capable of inspecting pipelines, rooftops, chimneys, and electric lines, among other things. Percepto relies on the Drone-in-the Box technology, autonomous drones, and Artificial Intelligence in these missions. 

Dor led the company to create integrated flying and ground drones for its security missions in cooperation with Boston Dynamics. The data harvested by them is processed using Percepto's proprietary software to provide the customer with clear information on the security of their premises and installations. 

In December 2021, Percepto was approved by CASA Australia to conduct BVLOS operations for fully remote inspection of an industrial site in a market where many facilities are located in rural and sparsely populated areas.

Percepto software platform AIM has been named as one of 100 Best Inventions of 2021 by Time magazine.

Dor Abuhasira - Percepto
Dor Abuhasira - CEO of Percepto

We love Dor's LinkedIn profile. And we are not alone. He has more than 5000 followers. He is constantly posting about innovation, technology and, of course, autonomous drones. 

Amit Ganjoo – ANRA technologies

Amit Ganjoo is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of ANRA Technologies, an Award-Winning Drone Operations and UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Platform provider based in Washington DC. Multiple commercial and government entities use their Platform SmartSkies for running and managing commercial drone operations.

Amit has over 20 years of aviation, telecom and wireless experience in both the federal and the commercial space. He is an engineer and a licensed pilot. Until December 2016, he acted as the co-chair for FCC's Technical Advisory Council (TAC) for 5G and IoT, which included ground and airborne autonomous vehicles. He was the Director of Engineering and Principal Architect at Ericsson, providing telecom solutions to commercial customers and the Federal Government, where he was the recipient of the Athena Award. He was also the Founder and CEO of a Mobile Marketing company from which he had a successful exit in 2009.

ANRA Technologies is an international provider of end-to-end solutions for unmanned aircraft systems operators and airspace managers. ANRA was founded in 2015 and Headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional offices in London, Tartu and New Delhi.

ANRA offers two software platforms for UAS Traffic Management (UTM) and Workflow orchestration platforms which can be deployed individually or combined into a comprehensive service package for an ANSP, regulator or a commercial enterprise.

Amit developed a strategy with his team to create platforms designed to scale to support millions of drones. These two software platforms include features such as discovery/authentication/registration services, mission planning, command and control, automated flight paths, dynamic flight routing, data processing, fleet management, traffic management, and open interfaces to enable integration into ATC as well as emerging capabilities like remote identification of drones.

Amit Ganjoo - ANRA Technologies
Amit Ganjoo - CEO of ANRA Technologies

Amit is an adjunct professor at George Mason University and shares his passion for engineering by teaching in the School of Engineering and volunteering at a local Maker Space in the D.C. area.

If you want to know the latest about UTM, Amit's LinkedIn profile is the one to follow.

Sharon Rossmark – Woman And Drones

Sharon Ross mark – is one of the most influential women in the drone industry and devoted to supporting other women. She is the CEO of Women And Drones, the platform that aims to drive industry diversity by highlighting women's achievements, creating a global female community, and fostering collaboration between female leaders and drone companies. 

Women to Watch is Sharon's other remarkable initiative, designed to highlight successful females in the industry and motivate females to make a difference.

She is the co-author of two kids educational books, "The Drone Girls and the Air Show Adventure" and "The Drone Girls and the Wonders of Whale Snot."
She serves on multiple boards such as Drone Service Provider Alliance and the Canadian Drone Institute.

She is constantly working on creating an incentive, especially for young females, to invest in education. 

She also established an endowed scholarship for U.S. military soldiers & veterans majoring in Business at Illinois State University.

She has nearly 3000 followers on LinkedIn. We love her profile as she posts about diversity, kids education, drones, and technology.

Sharon Rossmark - Women And Drones
Sharon Rossmark - Women And Drones

Jon Damush - Iris Automation

Jon has used his experience as a Certified Flight Instructor to build an over 30-year career in aviation. Additionally, he took advantage of his knowledge of engineering, software development, and systems integration when he set up Iris Automation. His track record includes leading new business ventures at Boeing NeXT. 

He has employed his experience in developing UAS at Boeing, including detect-and-avoid solutions, in his current company, Iris Automation. This company focuses on the safety of UAV operations and uses computer vision architecture and machine learning to offer its customers industry-leading technical solutions. For instance, one of its products, the Casia Onboard Detect-and-Avoid system, may be seamlessly integrated with open source and Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) autopilot systems. They say that it is the first commercially available computer vision Detect-and-Avoid system that provides 360-degrees intruder detection and avoidance at an average range of 1200 meters. 

Thanks to Jon's leadership, Iris automation has signed many agreements with drone manufacturers (e.g., Doosan manufacturing Hydrogen-powered drones, Volatus, etc.), drone logistics service providers such as Swoop Aero and UTM designers such as Germany-based HHLA. It has also signed an agreement with Becker Avionics (well-known general aviation (GA) avionics manufacturer) to increase situational awareness in GA. This is one significant example of drone technologies used in GA.

Jon Damush - Iris Automation
Jon Damush - Iris Automation

Honestly, he is not super active on Linkedin, but the company is engaged in multiple fronts, so worth following him or the company profile. They post a lot about BVLOS operations and how companies like Iris Automation provides innovative solutions for safe flights.

Robert Hammett - OneSky

Robert is a retired Captain of the US Navy Reserve with more than 25 years of experience harnessing new software technologies. As Vice President of Analytical Graphics Air Operations activities, he was responsible for managing challenges posed by BVLOS UAS operations, including ensuring their safety and efficiency.

For over two years now, Robert has been CEO of OneSky whose mission is to harmonize the sky by ensuring safe, efficient, and scalable access for all airspace users; in another name, they provide UTM services. Robert is leading a strategy that says that analytics is a necessary and critical tool for building interoperable solutions that will enable safe operations in the increasingly dense airspace of the future. OneSky, through its roots with Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI; now Ansys), has a more than 30-year history of using analytics to solve aerospace problems. That heritage is a critical piece of our development. The OneSky UTM platform is unique in offering deep analytics that provides an accurate, shared understanding of the airspace and enables dynamic airspace management.

To achieve this ambitious goal OneSky participates in various programs, in the USA, for example, NASA's Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign and the FAA UPP (UTM Pilot Program). It is also a member of the FAA's Remote ID Cohort.

OneSky is also active in other countries, such as Switzerland and Singapore. In particular, the program led together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) seems to be the most cutting edge.

Robert Hammett - OneSky
Robert Hammett - OneSky

As part of it, OneSky is configuring and implementing the UTM system and carrying out trials to prove that BVLOS operations carried out using many UAS to various sites is the next big thing in the drone industry.

Follow Robert here on Linkedin; he is active and loves sharing news about OneSky and analytic driven solutions.

Our choices are always based on our research, knowledge, and passion for the unmanned world. We try to show businesses that we find incredibly innovative and inspiring to others; stay tuned for the second part of the article next week.

Check out our previous articles about 12 CEOS to follow in Europe PART1 here and PART2 here

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