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The global agriculture drone market size was USD 1,021.1 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 3,697.4 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 18.14% during the forecast period.
The emergence of smart agriculture technologies in precision agriculture is projected to fuel demand for agriculture drones in the upcoming years. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are playing an important role in carrying farming operations in advanced farming management and site-specific crop management (SSCM) owing to the excellent capability of these drones in aiding the maximization of crop production. They are widely used by farmers in key applications such as soil assessment, crop management, irrigation & drainage, fertility, crop protection, fertilizer & pesticide spraying, and harvest planning.
Drone technology is combined with sophisticated technologies such as sensors, RGB cameras, and other analytical software for complete field monitoring. The rapidly growing global population is creating a huge demand for long-term sustainable agriculture. Drones are the perfect fit to achieve future sustainable food systems. Rapid technological developments are enhancing drone capabilities to create 3D maps for analyzing farmlands in real-time. These machines are equipped with advanced imaging systems and thermals sensors, which can point out the water and nutrient requirements of specific areas. UAVs are also capable of planting seeds in the soil, which substantially reduces the cost of planting. Increasing demand for automated devices in agriculture is projected to fuel the growth of the agriculture UAV market in the coming years.
COVID-19 Pandemic to Fuel Demand for Automated Robots in the Agriculture Supply Chain
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread at an alarming pace in more than 200 countries across the globe. The coronavirus has infected millions of people and has led to thousands of deaths since its outbreak. These factors have impacted the health of the global economy due to the strict imposition of restrictions to halt the infection spread. The pandemic has also inflicted long-term economic damage and is likely to trigger a global economic recession. However, the pandemic has generated a sudden requirement of several types of machinery for farming operations, especially for labor-intensive activities, in various countries. Lack of labor availability due to the pandemic has hampered the easy flow of supply chains, yield losses, and lower productivity for several months. These factors have increased the need for agricultural robots, machines, drones, and automated devices. The rising need for automated fertilizer sprayers, seeding drones, and planting small drones will further support market growth.
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Rising Automation in Agriculture to Drive Market Growth
The demand for unmanned aerial vehicles is growing as they can optimize agricultural operations to enhance crop production for higher yields. They are extensively utilized around the globe to gather information, monitor crop health, analyze soil & field quality, and perform irrigation operations. The integration of smart technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and artificial intelligence (AI), with these machines, is expected to provide considerable benefits to farming activities. These technologies are enhancing the traditional methods and tools associated with agriculture, such as connected tractors.
Most farmers are adopting drones in the field and soil analyses to understand the productivity pattern. Unmanned aerial vehicles are used to produce 3D maps in real-time and cost-effective ways. These are used to design seed planting patterns to arrange a wide range of data types. Drones are adopted to resolve irrigation problems, crop production, and pest infestations. For example, a new start-up, DroneSeed Company, received FAA approval for using unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver fertilizers, herbicides, tree seeds, and water for reforestation projects in the U.S. in 2019.
Advanced UAVs are well equipped with numerous sensors, multispectral capabilities, and RGB Cameras to capture several images. These technological developments are projected to fuel the market growth during the forecast period.
Increasing Use of Small Drones in Agriculture to Fuel Demand
According to the United Nations (UN), the human population is around 7.7 billion currently and is likely to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. Food supply and production are expected to double from their current levels. According to the Agriculture Outlook 2019 report of the OECD, agricultural production is anticipated to grow by 15% in the next decade across the world. These factors are generating pressure to enhance farming techniques, especially in precision farming, and to improve agricultural production per acre due to the limited availability of farming lands across the globe.
In the agriculture sector, several technological advancements have positively impacted farming output over the past few years. UAVs are one such major advancement and are extensively used in agricultural operations today with the help of next-gen hardware and software. Technological advancements in components, sensors, and sizes have successfully developed mini, autonomous, and unmanned rotorcrafts. This is one of the prominent factors anticipated to fuel the growth of the market.
Huge Private Investments in the Drone Industry to Propel Growth
The strong growth of the drone industry over the past few years is gaining wide attention owing to the technological advancements and affordable price range of UAVs across the globe. According to a PwC report, the global agriculture industry is worth USD 35 billion, indicating enormous potential for the drone industry. Precision agriculture is an emerging trend in the farm management sector, which enhances the production output in areas where farmlands are limited. Private investment companies and venture capitalists have been investing large amounts in drone companies over the past few years. In 2019, according to Dronemagazine, the drone industry received around USD 1.2 billion worth of investments from private companies and venture capitalists across the globe. These trends are expected to continue in the next few years due to the technological advancements in the UAVs used in farming operations. This, in turn, is projected to fuel the global demand for agricultural drones during the forecast period.
High Costs Associated with UAVs to Limit Adoption
Farmers are utilizing smart technologies to enhance agricultural productivity in limited land areas. The advanced camera systems and software are providing lucrative opportunities to monitor soil health, plant health, irrigation, and crop scouting. Agriculture UAVs are technologically advanced aerial systems that can run long-hour flights over large farming areas. These systems are loaded with expensive navigation and other autonomous systems, advanced high-definition cameras, and others, which increase the final cost of the products. Expensive product characteristics are, therefore, likely to hamper market growth during the forecast period.
The other major concern for the market is the stringent regulations placed in several countries on the flying of unmanned aerial systems at certain heights. Moreover, the lack of awareness among the large farmer populations is also limiting the demand for these devices in several countries.
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Hybrid Drones are Projected to Grow at Faster Pace
Based on type, the market is divided into rotary-wing, fixed-wing, and hybrid. The rotary-wing segment held the largest share in the market in 2019 and is projected to continue its leading position during the forecast period.
Rotary wing drones are extensively used for numerous farming applications owing to their excellent structural benefits. The multi-rotors have an advantage in terms of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), without needing any additional space for flight, for carrying heavy payloads. Multi-rotor drones can also fly for longer hours, especially for image capturing, aerial photography, and precision spraying.
The hybrid type drone segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR as these drones are a suitable fit for diverse farming applications and possess key structural benefits. They have combined features of fixed-wing and multi-rotor UAVs. These factors are projected to fuel the demand for agriculture UAVs during the forecast period.
Hardware Segment Dominated the Market in 2019
Based on components, the market is segmented into hardware and software. The hardware segment is further sub-segmented into frames, control systems, propulsion systems, navigation systems, payload, avionics, and others. The software segment is further divided into imaging software, data management software, data analytics software, and others.
The hardware segment held a dominant position in the agriculture UAVs market in 2019 and is likely to lead during the forecast period. Drone hardware applications are well-suited for precise crop health monitoring and field analysis with the help of different camera systems such as RGB, NIR, multispectral, hyperspectral, and thermal. These systems play an important role in analyzing soil properties, plant stress, irrigation management, and plant growth. Moreover, the RGB camera is helpful in plant counting on uneven terrains owing to the ability of visual inspection.
Field Mapping & Monitoring to Register a High CAGR
In terms of application, the market is segmented into field mapping & monitoring, crop spraying, crop scouting, variable rate application, livestock monitoring, and others. The field mapping & monitoring segment accounted for the largest share in 2019 and is projected to remain dominant during the forecast period. The most important factor in enhancing farm production output is improving soil health with high-quality nutrients. A piece of high-tech camera equipment can analyze the field conditions through a software system that generates a large amount of data. The processed data then helps to take appropriate decisions such as finalizing seed planting patterns.
The crop scouting segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period owing to the high importance of preventing pest infestation and diseases. Integrated pest management can be done through various drone software systems, which are also effective in disease control interventions.
North America Agriculture Drone Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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Geographically, the global market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World. North America accounted for a major market share in 2019 owing to the high preference for technologically advanced machinery and drone systems to increase farm output. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have implemented favorable regulations to support commercial and small unmanned aerial systems by eliminating the pilot license requirements. The U.S. has a strong and large customer base belonging to commercial farming companies that operate large farmlands across the country. This, along with the presence of adequate manufacturing companies in the U.S and Canada, is responsible for the dominance of North America in the agriculture drone market share.
The market in Europe is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR owing to the rising awareness regarding smart drones to analyze and monitor agricultural lands for improving crop production in the region. The market in the Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit healthy growth owing to the high agriculture production and export of agricultural goods across the globe. The major agricultural countries such as China, India, Indonesia, and several other Asian countries are likely to fuel the demand for agriculture UAVs. In addition to this, market players in this region are making heavy investments in product developments, which, in turn, will fuel the demand for agricultural UAV services during the forecast period.
Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are expected to display strong growth owing to the high dependence on agricultural production in these regions. The growing demand for agricultural products in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and South Africa is projected to fuel regional growth in the next few years.
Strong Portfolios to Enable Key Players to Dominate the Market
The global market is fragmented in nature owing to the presence of major players operating in the region. Currently, Drone Deploy, DJI, GoPro, Precision Hawk, and AeroVironment Inc. are the prominent companies leading the market, accounting for a dominant share in 2019. However, the lack of major barriers to entry is projected to lead to an increasing number of domestic players entering the global market.
Other key players such as Trimble Navigation Ltd. and 3D Robotics are providing holistic drone hardware and software solutions to their global customer base. These companies are also associated with new product developments and innovations. Their product portfolios are designed for various agricultural operations, with the integration of advanced systems. The introduction of innovative products such as AGRAS MG-1, eBee SQ, and DJI Phantom-4 Pro have boosted their brand value. New product developments, strategic acquisitions, and collaborations with domestic companies are some of the major strategies adopted by the key players operating in this market.
An Infographic Representation of Agriculture Drones Market
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The agriculture drone market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the advanced market over recent years.
Value (USD billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 1,021.1 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 3,697.4 million by 2027.
In 2019, the North America market value stood at USD 367.6 million.
Growing at a CAGR of 18.14%, the market will exhibit promising growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).
The hardware segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.
Increasing automation in agriculture and the introduction of agro-specific drones by market players are the major factors driving the growth of the market.
DJI, Drone Deploy, and AeroVironment are the major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market share in 2019.
The launch of advanced technologies such as AgrasT16, P4 Multispectral, and Phantom by market players is expected to drive the product adoption in the global market.
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