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The global commercial drone market size, valued at USD 1.20 billion in 2018, is projected to reach USD 6.30 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 23.37% during the forecast period.
Drones are also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously by software programmed flight plans and with complex dynamic automation systems. They have a wide variety of applications in the commercial sector. The UAVs have numerous applications in the industrial sector, such as aerial photography, construction & archeology, oil & gas resource management, agriculture, media & entertainment, and others.
The increasing demand for commercial drones is due to their variety of applications such as inspections, agriculture, security, photography & events, land surveying, and others. Moreover, the rise in demand is due to the advancements in technologies such as GPS, RADAR/LiDar, satellite communications, GNSS, wireless communications, and others.
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Growing demand from the commercial sector is leading to the development of technologically advanced products from key players in the market. In 2019, there were announcements of new imaging sensor integration such as smaller, more lightweight LiDAR that expect to exhibit imaging software advancements as companies are focusing more on the combination of RGB imaging, thermal imaging, and data from IoT sensors. Furthermore, manufacturers are introducing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that improve operational efficiency. Recently, companies such as IBM, Oracle, and INFOR developed systems such as workflow integration of drone data, enterprise asset management systems, and workflow into predictive maintenance and service solutions.
There is a wide scope for improvement in technologies for more precise operations and accurate results. The introduction of advanced technologies such as infrared thermography (IRT) and hyperspectral imaging (HSI) will create opportunities for the growth of the market. Specialized thermal imaging cameras feature focal plane arrays (FPAs) that make use of uncooled microbolometers as FPA sensors. In October 2017, the government of the U.S. started a program to increase the testing of commercial drones to include nighttime operations, flights flown over people, and flights beyond the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS).
“Increasing Demand for Technologically Advanced Drones for Commercial Applications to Propel Market Growth”
The increase in demand for commercial UAVs from different sectors such as agriculture, media & entertainment, remote sensing & mapping, land surveying, and others is set to propel the commercial drone market growth. There are various applications of drones that include aerial photography for journalism and film, express shipping & delivery, monitoring and supply of essentials for disaster management, and others, that would drive the growth of the market.
A drone includes different hardware and software systems. Various technologies, such as wireless communications, LiDAR, GPS, and others, are used for the efficient operation of drones. Adoption of advanced technologies such as thermal imaging, video analytics, optoelectronics would also boost the growth of the market.
“Rising Venture Capital Investment in Drone Technology to Drive Market”
An increase in demand for commercial UAV is leading to the development of technologically advanced drones. The rising capital investment from key manufacturers and the introduction of the latest technologies from market leaders such as DJI, 3D Robotics, AeroVironment are augmenting the growth of the market. Some of the recently technologies include robotics, artificial intelligence, automation. This factor would propel the commercial drone market revenue.
In 2017, DJI acquired Hasselblad, a Swedish company. The acquisition would lead to the development of drone by combining DJI's aerial drone technology with Hasselblad's cameras. Moreover, 3D Robotics received a fund of USD 53 million from Atlantic, VenturesFoundry, Bridge CapitalTrue, and GroupMayfield.
“Rotary Wing Drones Segment to Hold Highest Share Owing to Need for Improvements in Operational Efficiency”
Based on product, the commercial drone market is segmented into fixed-wing drone, rotary blade drone, and hybrid drone. Amongst these, the rotary-wing drone segment holds the highest market share. Rotary-wing blades require less space for take-off and landing. Increasing demand for such drones in specific applications that require precise monitoring and the ability to keep visual check on a single target for longer durations are estimated to drive the growth of this segment during the forecast period.
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The fixed-wing drones segment will exhibit moderate growth during the forecast period. This growth attributed to the simple structure of fixed-wing UAVs that requires less maintenance and repair process. Thus, they provide users with more operational time at lower costs.
Furthermore, these fixed drones can carry high payloads for long distances and their demand will increase over the forecast period. Key players present in the market are involved in new product developments to cater to the needs of the industrial customers. In 2017, Atlas Dynamics manufactured a fixed-wing UAV called the Atlas Blue-J. It is used for security & inspection missions.
“Remotely Operated Segment to Lead Backed by Rising Adoption in Government Sector”
Based on technology, the commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market is segmented into remotely operated, semi-autonomous, and autonomous. The remotely operated segment holds the highest market share and would continue to be the dominating segment throughout the forecast period. It is operated by using a remote and a receiver for receiving instructions through signals. The signals are transmitted via a remote control handled by an operator to send and receive signals to the drone.
The adoption of remotely operated drones in government sectors, risky areas for humans, aerial photography in weddings and special events, crop monitoring in the agriculture sector, are accelerating the growth of the remotely operated segment.
“UAV Avionics Segment to Exhibit Highest CAGR Stoked by Rising Usage of Automated Technologies”
Based on system, the market is segmented into UAV structure, UAV payload, UAV avionics, UAV propulsion, and UAV software. The UAV avionics segment is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period due to the increasing adoption of automated technologies. Automation helps in improving path control, provides autopilot assistance, improves passenger comfort, offers flight management system, and reduces workload.
The adoption of autonomous navigation based on the 3D reconstruction of the drone environment would propel the growth of the market as it is used to detect and track obstacles. The automatic flight control system includes electronics systems such as communications, navigation, collision avoidance, and weather systems. Furthermore, the wireless telemetry that is used with a ground control system (GCS) is adopted to show real-time data such as altitude position, ground speed, navigation, airspeed, and also serve as a virtual cockpit on the UAVs.
The UAV structure segment would showcase significant growth due to their lightweight designs and configurations for a variety of applications. The increasing demand for lightweight UAV structure is expected to lead to the development of the advanced design that would further drive the growth of this segment. Moreover, UAV payload would also witness moderate growth as it is used to carry the load of sensors, cameras, or delivery of packages.
“Infrastructure Segment to Dominate Fueled by Expanding Construction Sector”
Based on industry, the market is divided into infrastructure, transport & delivery, insurance, media, telecommunication, agriculture, security, and mining. Infrastructure segment holds the highest market share in the commercial drone market. The growth is attributed to the growing use of drones for inspection of power lines, power plants, storm damage, bridges, dams, oil platforms, communication towers, and others. Moreover, user friendly rules and regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that enable oil & gas companies to use drones in their day to day business operations.
Transport & delivery segment estimated to be the fastest growing segment in commercial drone market. Increasing demand of drones for transportation of wide range of products, from small packages to medical supplies and food, and among others drives the growth of the segment. Furthermore, drones are also used in logistics operations in remote locations such as shipping container ports, terminals and warehouses.
The media segment is expected to show significant growth during the forecast period. The increasing usage of drones for shooting films, aerial photography, wedding, and special events. The adoption of latest technologies would transform the media industry as it is also useful in the journalism sector to cover news where human entry is prohibited.
The agriculture segment would also experience moderate growth due to the rising demand of drones for agricultural applications such as crop monitoring, soil assessment, irrigation & drainage, spraying of fertilizers and pesticides, and harvest planning.
Security segment will witness moderate growth due to increasing demand of drones for surveillance applications. The drones have capability to enter narrow and confined spaces, produce minimal noise, and can be equipped with night vision cameras and thermal sensors.
North America is estimated to lead the commercial drone market and continue its domination during the forecast period. Increasing usage of drones for agricultural applications, engineering projects, recreational use, and security purposes in the U.S. and Canada drive the growth of the commercial drone market across the region. Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. has made user-friendly changes in regulations to provide more coherent guidelines concerning the legal and safe operation of UAVs in commercial spaces. Such relaxation in rules will reduce entry barriers and increase the adoption of drones. The presence of key UAV manufacturers, such as General Atomics (the U.S.), Textron Inc. (the U.S.), Aeryon Labs (Canada), and 3D Robotics (the U.S.), would drive the growth of the Commercial Drone Market across the region.
North America Commercial Drone Market Size, 2018
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Asia Pacific is set to show the fastest growth during the forecast period due to the increasing demand from countries, namely, China and Japan for automated and advanced technology-equipped drones for a wide range of industries to counter the rising labor costs. The higher efficiency of drones for certain applications such as agriculture, construction, media, and entertainment as compared to manual labor is expected to propel the growth of the market across the region.
Europe will showcase significant growth during the forecast period due to favorable government programs to promote the adoption of drones for various industrial applications. In 2016, the U.K. government, with the authorization of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), made some changes in its rules & regulations concerned with various applications of the U.K. drones for commercial trials.
The rise in demand for drones in the Middle East and Africa is occurring mainly due to inventory management and monitoring applications across the oil and gas industry and utility sector of the region. The oil and gas companies are using drones for pipeline inspection and maintenance applications.
“Market Players to Strengthen their Position by Broadening Product Portfolio”
As per the commercial drone market forecast, the market is dominated by some of the key companies due to their strong product portfolio and key strategic decisions. These players have a wide regional presence and are also investing in R&D activities.
Commercial drone OEMs are majorly focusing on business expansion by gaining contracts for the development of advanced technologies used in drones. Moreover, companies are expanding their business by implementing strategies such as joint development, long term contract, investments in mergers & acquisitions, and agreements.
An increase in the demand for advanced drones for commercial applications and the growing aftermarket is driving the growth of the global commercial drone market. The commercial drone market is analyzed for different products, technology, systems, and industry segments by the drone OEMs. The market research includes the scope the global commercial drone market.
Along with this, the commercial drone market report provides an elaborative analysis of the global market dynamics and competitive landscape for the key manufacturers of the commercial drone market.
Value (USD Billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global commercial drone market was valued at USD 1.20 billion in 2018.
Fortune Business Insights says that the global commercial UAV market is projected to reach USD 6.30 billion by 2026.
Growing at a CAGR of 23.37%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2015-2026).
The fixed-wing segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market.
Increasing demand for technologically advanced drones for commercial application is the key factor driving the market.
DJI, Parrot Drone SAS, EHang, 3D Robotics, AeroVironment, AguaDrone, and Autel Robotics, among others are the top players in the market.
The latest technologies in drones and rising investment by key players are some of the factors expected to drive the market.
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