Categories announced for industry-first global awards platform

Global awards platform, Airwards, has unveiled the line-up of award categories for its inaugural year, ahead of submissions opening on 1st December 2020. The first unifying digital awards scheme of its kind to recognise best practice drone work, the Airwards categories span a broad variety of uses and sectors, including Technology, Operations, Supporting Services, specific Industries/Fields and Giving Back - with a People’s Choice category that is voted for by the public.

The brainchild of digital entrepreneur Richard Nichols, Airwards is an independent, not-for-profit awards platform which champions the very best UAS projects that are positively advancing human capabilities.

Submissions will be open from December 2020 until 12th February 2021, and Airwards will be looking for outstanding work examples where drones are truly leading the way in innovation, responsibility and impactful real world solutions.

Airwards Categories

Airwards is open to a range of individuals and companies globally, including UAS specialists transforming an industry, startups using drone technology for creative solutions, and large corporations driving innovation.

Of the groups listed below, Technology, Operations, Supporting Services and Industry/Field categories are paid-for entries (starting from £49 for startups), while Giving Back is free to enter and People’s Choice is nomination only and voted by the public. 

  • Counter Drone Systems (Anti-Drones)
  • Sensors and Payload
  • Software - Captured data management and analysis
  • Software - Enabling flight and operational management
  • Airspace Management
  • Delivery
  • Survey and Inspection
Supporting Services
  • Consultancy
  • Insurance and Financing
  • Repair and Maintenance
  • Training and Certification
  • Agriculture
  • Construction and Planning
  • Defence, Security and Surveillance
  • Energy
  • Media, Events and Creative
  • Medical and Healthcare
  • Transport
Giving Back
  • Conservation and Environment
  • Education and Research
  • Emergency Response and SAR
  • Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief
  • Public Safety
People’s Choice
  • Organisation - External Advocate
  • Organisation - Startup
  • Organisation - SME
  • Organisation - Enterprise
  • Person - Rising Star
  • Person - Industry Impactor
  • Person - Disruptor

Airwards Founder, Richard Nichols, said: “After months of hard work, it’s exciting to finally reveal the awards categories list for our inaugural year. Airwards was established to champion UAS projects that are pushing boundaries, creating innovative solutions and transforming industries - not only as a way to bring together the drone community, but also to raise awareness of positive drone uses with the wider public.

"While we’re recognising a huge number of sectors in the awards scheme, there are many more we would have liked to include, but we had to rein it in for year one! We’re really looking forward to finding and championing incredible use cases of drones and showcasing the inspiring stories behind them from across the globe come December.”

Marek Ziebart, Professor of Space Geodesy at UCL and an Airwards advisor, commented: "A platform recognising the evolution of drone technology and the importance of a holistic approach to the industry's growth can only be a positive. Combine this with building a community of flagship use cases and technical expertise and I'm excited to be involved in advising such an innovative venture."

Airwards Eligibility & Criteria

Entrants must successfully meet the Airwards eligibility to be able to enter, which includes relevant permits and licences for the project in the country of origin.

Amongst others, the three main criteria the Airwards judges will be looking for, are:

  1. Innovative: Promoting pioneering ideas that are successfully challenging the perception of what a drone is and can be.
  2. Responsible: Recognising the key aspect of safety in every drone flight to advocate legitimate behaviour as a standard best practice.
  3. Real-world: Asking the question: ‘How are drones making a difference?’ by demonstrating quantifiable outcomes and tangible solutions.

Airwards launched in 2020 in association with ARPAS-UK, the not-for-profit trade association for the UK drone industry. Judges will be revealed in due course. Entrants will have from 1st December 2020 until 12 February 2021, with winners announced by late May 2021.

Startup Details

Startup Details



Airwards believes in recognising and championing the very best UAV projects, companies and individuals leading the way in innovation, responsibility and real-world solutions with drones.

  • Headquarters Regions
    London, UK
  • Founded Date
  • Founders
    Richard Nichols
  • Operating Status
  • Number of Employees