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The global unmanned aerial vehicle market size was valued at USD 9.70 Billion in 2018 is projected to reach USD 27.40 Billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 12.54 % during the forecast period.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is an aircraft operated on the remote control by a human operator or through automated computer programs. It performs desired functions and navigation by using aerodynamics structures. It has a variety of applications in different sectors, such as military & defense, commercial & civil, and recreational purposes. Manufacturers are developing UAVs that are equipped with special features. These can carry communication relay and remote-sensing payloads for military applications.
Military UAVs that are equipped with liquid hydrogen-fueled propulsion can operate at high altitudes. Thus, military drones are used for gathering information of disaster relief, carrying missiles, hitting the target, recreational uses, and cinematography. Commercial and civil drones are equipped with a variety of additional equipment, including global positioning systems (GPS), cameras, navigation systems, and sensors. Hence, they are used for remote sensing, oil, gas, and mineral exploration, ISR missions, as well as modernization in agriculture methods. Consumer drones are used for personal use, such as photography, video, and others.
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Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and LiDAR sensors are some of the latest technologies that will transform the drone market. Artificial intelligence helps in analyzing the huge amount of information captured by the drones. Key players are focused on the development of technically advanced products by introducing the latest techniques, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI allows drones to make decisions and operate on their own that further helps in identifying quality defects, inventory shortages, or malfunctions faster than any other method. AI-powered drones can be equipped with predictive capabilities, better obstacle tackling, target identification by thermal imaging cameras, and can attack them without human intervention. Autonomous drones are programmed with algorithms for numerous human-defined courses of action to meet various challenges.
Autonomous drones perform all its defined tasks without human intervention. The growing demand for autonomous UAVs worldwide is due to its applications, such as navigation in complex, multi-dimensional environments with or without GPS used for search and rescue, first response, and precision farming. The autonomous UAVs consist of onboard sensors and processors customized for planning, state estimation, and control. Also, Data61 developed Hover map, a fully integrated aerial 3D mapping solution. It is one such UAV that is capable of carrying out autonomous mission of surveys in mountainous terrain, autonomous beyond line-of-sight infrastructure inspection mission in Project Smart Skies.
Lack of air traffic management, safety and security concerns, and strict airspace regulations may hamper the growth of the market. Defense forces around the world are increasing spending on the development of advanced UAVs with AI and machine learning for more accuracy, improved performance, and reducing human casualties, which will create immense opportunities for the UAV market to grow in upcoming years.
North America dominated the UAV market and it will continue its dominance during the forecast period. The growth is due to the increasing demand for UAV for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in military and surveillance. Also, a rise in the usage of commercial drones for search and rescue operations, security purposes, area mapping for constructions in countries such as the U.S. and Canada propels the growth of the unmanned aerial Vehicle market in North America. Moreover, increasing usage of personal drones for weddings, special events, photography, and videos drives the drones market in this region. Presence of the leading manufacturers of UAVs such as Textron (US), General Atomics (US), 3D Robotics (US), Aeryon Labs (Canada), and among others drives the growth of UAV market across the area.
“The Increasing Use of UAVs In Military Applications To Propel Market Growth”
Increasing use of UAVs in military applications across the globe is a prime factor to drive the UAV market size. The growth is attributed to the rising expenditure on unmanned technologies, target recognition, and the introduction of advanced technologies, such as robotics and automation. Rapid usage of UAVs in life-threatening military missions and growing demand for modern warfare techniques by defense forces drive the growth of the UAVs market.
Rise in the adoption of UAVs for advanced patrolling of marine borders, and rising demand of military UAVs from the prominent manufacturers of various countries through different contracts are responsible to drive the UAV market share. Increasing political tensions between several countries, growing defense budget, and increased spending on defense R&D creates demand for UAVs. Increased procurement of UAVs is expected to strengthen the military forces for ISR activities and a rise in the usage of drones for commercial and civil applications such as agriculture, area mapping, search & rescue, and personal use would also impact the market. India and Israel made a contract of 50 Heron UAVs. The governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam will receive 34 Scan Eagle drones from Boeing. France purchased 105 Spy Ranger drones from Thales. All these factors are anticipated to drive the military UAVs market across the globe.
“Growing Usage of UAVs in Commercial and Civil applications to Drive Market Growth”
Another important driving factor is the growing adoption of UAVs in the commercial and civil sectors. It can be applied in the commercial sector for agricultural activities namely, monitoring which crops are failing, mapping the area, taking inventory of crops, and studying the irrigation systems. Commercial drones are used in real estate for area mapping, search and rescue operations, inspections, and security purposes. Civil drones are useful in engineering projects, such as maintenance inspections, transmission cables, and oil pipelines. The UAVs provide a variety of applications in critical activities, namely, airport and road construction planning, increasing efficiency manifold, remote sensing, photo and videography, and mineral exploration.
Growing demand for commercial UAVs due to its application in different sectors such as environmental conservation and monitoring, media coverage, security, and rescue and search operations are projected to propel the growth of commercial and civil UAVs market across the globe.
“The Military UAV Segment Would Generate the Highest Share During the Forecast Period”
Based on application, the UAV market can be segmented into military, civil & commercial, and Recreational. The segment of military UAVs is estimated to hold the most dominant UAV industry share. The growth is due to the increasing demand for autonomous UAVs due to the rapid usage of military drones for Intelligence, Security, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Military UAVs such as HALE, MALE, tactical UAVs, as well as other special-purpose UAVs used for military operations. Operations such as monitoring criminal activities, border patrol, battlefield management, radiological, and nuclear conditions. HALE UAVs are used in special missions due to their high payload capacity, and fully autonomous operational feature.
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On the other hand, the commercial and civil sector will also showcase significant growth in the UAV market due to increasing usage of UAVs for various applications, namely, crop monitoring in agriculture, area mapping in engineering projects, rescue and search operations, maintenance, inspections and others. Furthermore, the introduction of passenger drones is becoming more popular due to traffic congestion, innovations in air taxis, and intercity travel. The leading UAVs manufacturers such as Ehang, Volocopter, Lilium Jet, City Airbus, and others are majorly focusing on the development of passenger drones to meet the demand from consumers.
“UAV Avionics to Be the Fastest Growing System in Market During the Forecast Period”
Based on system, the UAV market can be segmented into airframe, payload, avionics, propulsion, and software. In terms of system, UAV Avionics is the fastest-growing segment owing to the rapid adoption of automated technologies. Automation improves path control, increases passenger comfort, provides autopilot assistance, offers flight management system, and reduces workload. Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) based navigation systems are used in autonomous drones for delivering items. Autonomous navigation is based on the 3D reconstruction of the drone environment. It is used to detect obstacles, victims, and smooth tracking. The automatic flight control system includes electronics for communications, navigation, collision avoidance, and weather. Automated drone flight software allows fully automated takeoffs, landings, and in-flight operations.
The avionic system is installed in the UAV airframe. Wireless telemetry with ground control station (GCS) is used for communicating with unmanned aerial vehicles. It is used to show real-time data such as the ground speed, altitude, position, airspeed, navigation, and could be served as a virtual cockpit on the UAVs. Ground control station (GCS) is used to control the UAV in flight, uploading new mission commands, and setting parameters. It also used to monitor live video streaming from the UAV's cameras.
UAV airframe segment is expected to show significant growth due to the rising demand for advanced design and configuration of unmanned aerial vehicles as these are used for a variety of applications. The airframe includes the structure and materials, namely, graphite fibers, high molecular weight polyethylene, high electrical resistivity glass (E-glass), S-glass (magnesia-alumina-silicate glass with high tensile strength), quartz, and aramid. The increasing demand for lightweight composite material drives the airframe segment during the forecast period. Also, the UAV payload segment will witness steady growth during the forecast period.
Payload is the weight that an unmanned aerial vehicles can carry. The additional weight of a drone includes sensors, cameras, or deliver packages. The growing demand for payloads is due to the persistent advancements in surveillance systems, communications, and electronic counter-measures. Rising demand for UAVs is expected to improve the surveillance and communication systems and make rescue operations more efficient. Furthermore, gathering and data management will lead to growth of the payload segment. The UAV navigation system controls a variety of payloads such as video camera, laser pointer, directional antenna, and others.
High demand of small UAVs in recreational use and commercial applications for surveying, mapping, and drone delivery are supporting the growth of UAVs market
Based on class, the UAV market is segmented into Small UAVs, Strategic UAVs, Tactical UAVs, Special Purpose UAVs. The small UAVs segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period, owing to the growing demand for small UAVs from the defense sector for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)applications. The increasing demand for small UAVs from the commercial sector is due to its applications in agriculture sector, area mapping for construction, wildlife survey, search & rescue, logistics & transportation, and photography. Furthermore demand for recreational use of small drone is one of the key factor driving the small drones market.
“Demand for Autonomous Navigation and Autonomous Flight Operations to Drive fully-autonomous UAV Segment”
Based on technology, the UAV market can be segmented into remotely operated, semi-autonomous, and fully-autonomous. Remotely operated technology holds the highest market share in this market. Beyond the visual line of sight, drones are used to perform various operations and collect more data in fewer deployments. Lower altitude of drone flight makes them ideal for collecting high-resolution data. The remotely operated autonomous drones have the capability of disconnecting recovery, emergency landing, and emergency handover between control channels. These remotely operated UAVs are controlled by remote control by the pilot from the ground station.
Fully-autonomous and semi-autonomous technology will exhibit growth by acquiring the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The major difference between semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous technology is command delivery. In semi-autonomous technology, automation makes decisions and performs tasks without direction. Semi-autonomous requires certain commands to perform operations. In case of fully-autonomous technology, all the functions are performed and controlled by the UAV itself and it does not require any external command from the operator. Increasing demand for fully-autonomous UAV is due to their well-developed features such as stability enhancement and waypoint flight. These are driving the market for autonomous UAVs.
Also, new developments in the design of remotely operated UAVs and the introduction of new application areas are creating demand for robust and adaptive control techniques in semi-autonomous technology. The semi-autonomous technology possesses few capabilities, namely, ease of operations in different flight conditions, robust disturbance rejection, obstacle avoidance, aggressive maneuvering flight, formation flying, fault tolerance, and the use of new sensing and perception paradigms, such as computer vision. Thus, the rising demand for semi-autonomous to fully autonomous UAVs is due to the increasing capabilities of UAVs for decision making, navigation, control, sensing, and communication systems, which are expected to drive the autonomous technology segment during the forecast period.
North America is estimated to emerge dominant in the global market during the forecast period. The growing usage of UAVs for maritime and border surveillance activities and increasing adoption of commercial drones for agricultural applications, engineering projects, security purposes, and recreational use in countries such as the U.S. and Canada are propelling the growth of the unmanned aerial Vehicle market in this region. Besides, the presence of leading UAV manufacturers, such as Textron (US), General Atomics (US), 3D Robotics (US), Aeryon Labs (Canada), and others is projected to drive the growth of UAV market across North America.
North America UAV Market Size, 2018
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Asia Pacific is expected to register highest growth in the UAV market during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to the increasing expenditure on the defense sector from countries such as China, India, South Korea, and Australia. Increasing political tensions and growing terrorist activities in the region are leading to rising procurement of UAVs for improved security. It will propel growth of the UAV market across the region. In addition to this, growing demand for commercial and civil drones for numerous applications, namely, inspections, weddings, special events, search and rescue, land surveying, and remote sensing will drive the drone market across the region. Presence of key UAV manufacturers such as DJI (China), Shenzhen Top-Peak Electronics Co., Ltd (China), EHang (China), and others are anticipated to fuel the UAV market across Asia Pacific.
“Market Players like AeroVironment, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and others are estimating to ensure the strength of UAVs Across the Globe”
The UAV market is dominated by some key companies due to their strong product portfolio, key strategic decisions, and dominance of market share. These include a group of 4-5 key companies with wider geographic presence and continued R&D resulting in strong regulatory approvals.
Increasing usage of UAVs for military and commercial applications, growing defense budget and rising procurement of UAVs across the globe are expected to increase the global UAV market growth.
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Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the global market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key insights presented in the report are the recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in crucial countries, technological advancements in unmanned aerial Vehicles, an overview of technologies used in UAVs, key strategies adopted by the market leaders, competitive landscape, and company profiles.
Value (USD Billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the UAV market was valued at USD 9.70 Billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 27.40 Billion by 2026
The UAV market is projected to grow at a steady CAGR of 12.54% in the forecast period (2015-2026).
The military segment is expected to lead the UAV market during the forecast period.
Increasing usage of UAVs in military applications for electronic warfare, target audience, and ISR missions is the key factor driving the UAV market. They are also used for commercial purposes such as remote sensing, oil and gas exploration, and photography.
Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Boeing, DJI, AeroVironment, Airbus, Thales, Parrot, Israel Aerospace Industries, EHang, and Textron are the top players in the market.
North America is expected to hold the highest share in the UAV market.
Growing demand for UAVs for military and commercial applications are expected to drive the market.
The emergence of fully-autonomous UAVs is one of the UAV market trends.