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Airwards makes entries free as a result of the pandemic

As Airwards has begun accepting entries for the inaugural awards show, it has announced that all entries will now be free. The decision was made as many companies are still being held back by the world’s current situation and are therefore unable to pay to enter.

Airwards took to social media yesterday to make the announcement, saying:

We are grateful to have a fantastic team of Partners and Advisors here at Airwards, and after some lengthy discussions with them, and taking into consideration the budget pressures companies are facing as a result of the pandemic, we have decided to make all award entries free for our inaugural year.

The company made it clear that if you have already paid for an entry, you will receive a 100% refund.

Airwards is the brainchild of digital entrepreneur Richard Nichols and is a nonprofit awards platform that focuses on the people and companies doing the most in the drone industry. This means the solutions are innovative while still staying safe and in the real world.

The digital awards will recognize more than 20 disciplines in the drone world. They will recognize the very best UAV projects, companies, and individuals leading the way in innovation, responsibility, and real-world solutions.

Submissions for the awards open December 1 and cover a wide range of companies, including technology, operations, support services, and specific industries.

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 recognizing 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.

To be considered for the awards, entrants must meet the criteria set out by Airwards:

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

Marek Ziebart, professor of Space Geodesy at UCL and an Airwards advisor, followed with:

A platform recognizing the evolution of drone technology and the importance of a holistic approach to the industry’s growth can only be 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.

You can see the full list of categories below and head over to the Airwards’ website to learn more about entering.


  • 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
  • Defense, 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

  • Organization – External Advocate
  • Organization – Startup
  • Organization – SME
  • Organization – Enterprise
  • Person – Rising Star
  • Person – Industry Impactor
  • Person – Disruptor

Photo: Visualskies



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.