Recap of Drone News in 2022

Ed Alvarado
January 20, 2023
7 min. read

Yet another year of drone news has flown by. Unlike 2020 and 2021, last year was not dominated by lockdowns and restrictions, meaning that a lot more normal activities could finally take place. What did this mean for drone news? Let’s have a look at some of the top drone headlines that happened in 2022.
Once again, it is worth emphasizing that we intentionally exclude military-related headlines. Unfortunately, given the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the way commercial and recreational drones started being used for conflict, this year we had to exclude more than perhaps any other year before. It is also worth noting that this year’s article is split per month and includes more drone headlines with some concluding key lessons at the end.

drone news in 2022 infographic

Originally published: January 2023

Q1 Drone News – January through March


We begin the year with a story about a dog that was rescued in a very particular manner: by a drone dangling sausage as bait. This light and heart-warming story is a good example of how drones are being used in creative ways to solve all types of problems, including life-threatening situations. On the financial side, the year barely got started before we had our first drone headline about investments: Wisk secured US$450M from Boeing to advance their eVTOL aircraft.

Additionally, two drone headlines in January highlighted the ever-growing importance and need for counter-drone technology to detect and deter unauthorized drones. First, there was a case of Swedish police hunting down a drone that flew by a nuclear plant. And then in the UK there was a drone flying over an English football game, which caused a delay in the game. Though the second case may be less dangerous and more of a nuisance and intellectual property issue, the first headline could represent a potential national security threat.



Perhaps the top headline in February was about India banning the importing of drones. Back in 2021, we mentioned the rise of India’s drone market, and this ban will naturally have a major impact on both domestic production as well as on the activities of foreign companies within the country. Meanwhile, Israel provided a quite contrasting headline in terms of restriction by becoming the first country to allow flights in civilian airspace.

This month also provided some delivery-related drone news. These came courtesy of fast-food chain KFC preparing for drone deliveries in Queensland Australia by partnering with Wing, and an article by DroneDJ where Flytrex published data of its drone delivery operations.



Spring brought even more delivery drone news, starting with a teaming up between FedEx and Elroy for cargo deliveries. The companies announced that they will begin testing aircraft in 2023 for its middle-mile operations with a range of 300-500 miles. In the UK, a consortium led by UTM software provider Altitude Angel submitted the blueprint for a 165-mile (265km) drone superhighway referred to as Project Skyway.

Q2 Drone News – April through June


Blurring the line between commercial drones and military drones, DJI made major drone headlines by temporarily halting operations in Russia and Ukraine. This came after some scrutiny regarding the company implicitly choosing sides in the conflict, particularly in favor of Russia. Unfortunately for the drone giant, this was not the only negative headline to come in 2022.

In Texas, Alphabet’s Wing expanded its operations into its first major metropolitan area in the US: Dallas-Fort Worth. People living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex region will eventually be able to order products from Walgreens, ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries, pet medications from easyvet, and first-aid kits from Texas Health.

Also in April yet on another end of the globe, another drone delivery leader Zipline partnered with Toyota to launch on-demand medical drone deliveries in Japan’s Gotō Islands.



The month of May was perhaps the one most packed with delivery drone news from all around the globe. In the UK, the Royal Mail plans to set up as many as 50 drone routes over the next three years. Meanwhile in parts of the US, Walmart (in partnership with DroneUp) plans to deliver food, groceries and supplies to as many as 4 million households while charging US$3.99 per delivery and carrying a maximum weight limit of up to 10lb. Across the Atlantic, in Africa, Wingcopter announced a partnership with Continental Drones with the goal of deploying 12,000 of Wingcopter’s 198 drone systems across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa over the course of the next 5 years.

Another important drone headline in May was Eve Air Mobility going public and offering stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, making it the 6th eVTOL/passenger drone company to offer drone stocks.



Over the past years, many environmentally-minded people have come to appreciate the value of drone shows replacing fireworks. These shows have also made a lot of headlines because of the unique and amazing images that they can create which fireworks could never accomplish. And in June 2022, these drone shows received a big nod of approval thanks to the performance at Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee concert.

Adding to the delivery drone news for the year, a small town of 3,500 in California is where Amazon plans to bring free drone deliveries under five pounds (2.2kg).

Q3 Drone News – July through September


The NHS in the UK announced that its cancer patients will be the first in the world to benefit from chemotherapy delivered by drone as part of a new trial. These drones will cut the usual delivery time from four hours to 30 minutes, saving fuel and money and making cancer care much more convenient for patients living on the Isle of Wight who often need to travel to the mainland for treatment at the moment.

In another life-saving drone headline during July, a drone lifeguard saved a 14-year old boy in Valencia, Spain. The drone dropped a life vest into the sea as he started to sink, which was able to keep the boy afloat until a physical lifeguard team arrived.



Building on the counter-drone headlines that started the year, the US Transportation Security Administration announced that it began testing state-of-the-art drone detection technology at LAX airport in Los Angeles, joining Miami International Airport in TSA’s UAS Test Bed Program. Since 2021, there have been approximately 90 visual sightings and 5,200 technical detections within three miles of the LAX perimeter, so the new technology should have plenty of opportunities to show its capabilities.

On the regulatory front, the DJI Mavic 3 became the first drone ever with a C1 certification in the EU. This certification means that starting in January 2024, Mavic 3 pilots will be able to fly in the A1 Open category rather than the more regulated and difficult A2.

In other government-related drone news in the US, the FAA awarded US$2.7 million to universities all around the country to support research on how drones can assist in disaster preparedness and emergencies, which should provide even more concrete evidence of the life-saving potential of drone technology. Finally, in the financial world, two companies offering drone stocks merged when ONDAS Holdings acquired Airobotics.



September’s drone news began with the announcement of a partnership between an African e-commerce firm and Zipline to bring drone delivery of household items to remote areas of Ghana. Meanwhile, in Scotland, a consortium secured £10.1 million in funding to set up a drone network that can transport essential medicines, bloods and other medical supplies throughout Scotland including to remote communities. And in the US, Matternet completed the 4-year type certification process by the FAA for their M2 drone.

All of these headlines once again highlighted the increasing level of activity around drone delivery that is happening all around the globe.

Another interesting drone headline was that an intellectual property law firm found that global patents granted for drones increased 39% from previous year. Reaching 4,876 in 2021. This was more than double the amount in 2019, showing that it is not only current drone markets or drone investments that are growing significantly, but also drone technology itself and the amount of innovative ways that drones are being used.

Q4 Drone News – October through December


In one of the major drone headlines of the year, DJI was officially blacklisted by US Dept of Defense. Although this had a potential for very negative consequences on the company, it will be interesting to see how the aforementioned positive and these negative headlines will impact DJI’s market performance during 2023 and leading to 2024.

Regarding drone certification, this same month also saw the first C2 certification, which was given to AgEagle, as well as C3 certification awarded to Quantum Systems.

October also brought more headlines related to counter-drone technology. After Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) warned of risks of accidents or even deliberate attacks, police placed drone detection systems on offshore oil and gas platforms at the start of the month. Barely 10 days later, a drone was spotted flying over the Kaarstoe gas plant in southwest Norway, which ranks among Europe’s largest energy export facilities.



Winding down the year, major drone news nevertheless kept coming. The European Commission published its Drone Strategy 2.0, designed as a plan for how Europe can pursue large-scale commercial drone operations while offering new opportunities in the sector. This strategy is not only a major endorsement for drone technology and the future of the drone industry as a whole, but also provided some details on how exactly the European Union plans to support the growth of its domestic drone market.

More delivery drone news came in the way of a new design for Amazon Prime Air’s drone delivery, as well as a partnership between Wing and DoorDash in Australia to bring grocery deliveries by drone to more households.



Finally, the last month of the year brought news about testing of the longest drone delivery route connecting hospitals and laboratories over a major city, courtesy of Matternet in Zurich, Switzerland. Additionally, plans to launch the UK’s first drone logistics hub at Oban Airport in Scotland reached a major milestone with planning permission approved for the proposed facility.

Key Lessons from Drone News in 2022

Among the main takeaways from all these drone headlines is the fact that drone delivery is in fact gaining more and more momentum, contrary to what many critics would like to declare. From Ghana, to Scotland, California and Japan, companies all around the world made headlines about expanding investments and operations. Of course drones are not flooding the skies (which was never the actual plan), but over the past years there have been critics who claim the idea will never take off or is already dead. And yet all the drone headlines as well as investment trends prove that is not the case.


Perhaps the second important theme from 2022 relates to counter-drone technology. Particularly the cases of nuclear plants in Sweden and Norway (but also the sporting events in England and the US) show that counter-drone technology is becoming even more imperative for certain contexts. As our skies become more populated with drones that improve the way we live, it is more and more crucial to be able to detect the cases where a drone might be flying where it is not supposed to be.


In conclusion, a lot of the major commercial drone headlines in 2022 related to drone delivery news and counter-drone technology, but there were still plenty of big headlines about drone regulation and investments among other topics. So we are eager to see what 2023 brings and we look forward to sharing another year of drone news with our audience!

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This infographic “Drone News in 2022” shows some of the highlights that made the news in 2022

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