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Small Drones Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Type (Fixed-Wing, Rotary-Wing, and Hybrid/Transitional), By Power Source (Lithium-ion cells, Hybrid Fuel cells, and Solar cells), By Size (Micro, and Mini & Nano), By Application (Civil & Commercial, Military, Homeland Security, and Consumer) and Regional Forecast, 2015-2026

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102227



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The global small drones market size valued at USD 6.46 billion in 2018, is projected to reach USD 22.55 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 15.92% during the forecast period.

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Small drones are majorly used in the military for surveillance and target acquisition, and in commercial and consumer use, it uses for entertainment, videography and other miscellaneous applications. The small drones market is expected to will witness considerable growth in the next few years due to the high demand for the product in the commercial and defense sectors. The small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can fly several minutes in the sky within the line of sight. Ease in the drone licensing and commercial usage of the small drones is estimated to drive the demand for the small UAV market. The drone industry is expected to witness a lucrative growth rate, as commercial use of small drone and strong market fundamentals are supporting the growth of the small drones market.

Small UAVs markets for military and defense applications are driven by various factors, such as increasing the use of small UAVs in life-threatening military missions and increasing the use of small UAVs for border patrolling. Several countries, including India and China, have invested heavily in developing unmanned aerial vehicles and are estimated to spend a considerable amount of budget in the procurement of small drones for homeland security, borders surveillance, and other defense applications. The growing requirement of the small drones from the commercial sector is mainly for the aerial remote sensing applications, and the last-mile drone delivery and aerial mapping is estimated to drive the small drones market in the forecast period.

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New technological trends such as cloud-computing based services, artificial intelligence (AI) in small drones, an advanced small drone with high endurance capacity are supporting the small drone market. Furthermore, the development of superior computing technologies with embedded chips and AI-driven sensors in small UAVs will support the market in the forecast period.  Among these trends, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in small drones have been adopted broadly by the key OEMs in the market. Artificial intelligence is used in the small drone for machine learning and to enhance the computer programming of small drones. In machine learning technology use of machine perception and computer programming provides better navigation and pathfinding capacity to small drones. Machine perception is the process of image recognition carried out by using sensors such as electro-optical sensors and stereo-optical sensors. These sensors capture real-time images and convert this data into useful information. This is a high-end programming technology used for automation in drone flight operations. The introduction of autonomous technology in small drones will drive the demand for small drones during the forecast period.


“Increasing Use of Small Drones for Commercial Applications Propelling the Growth of the Market”

Nowadays, several businesses and governmental organizations are adopting small drones. Small drones increase work efficiency and help reduce the workload. Drones help to resolve security issues on a vast scale, specifically in the security services domain. Moreover, small drones are used for aerial monitoring and sensing application; drone sensors can be used to map remote locations. These are the factors responsible for adopting small UAVs in the security industry.

In the case of the telecommunication industry, with the help of small drones telecommunication towers are regularly inspected to ensure service reliability and smooth functioning of telecommunication operations. Similarly, in the case of disaster management, small drones can quickly assess to the desired location and provide the required information.

“Increasing Preference of Drones for Homeland Security.”

The small drones in homeland security are used for applications such as traffic monitoring, firefighting operation, and search & rescue operations. In the case of natural disasters, drones have played a crucial role in conducting rescue operations. In 2017, drones were used in aerial mapping damaged area in Hurricane ‘Harvey,’ and used to map the damage occurred by the floods. Small drones are used to collect the data and analyze the collected data with real-time situations in search and rescue (SAR) operations.


By Type

“Increasing Demand of Technologically Advanced Hybrid Small UAVs for Deliveries Emergency Medical Services are Triggering the Growth of the Market”

Based on the type, the small drones market is classified as the fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and hybrid/transitional drone types. Amongst these, the fixed-wing segment is growing at a significant growth rate due to the increasing demand for fixed-wing small drones in several industries. A company named, UAV Factory, is the manufacturer of small fixed-wing UAVs. The company has designed a Penguin C UAS, which is a fixed-wing small drone. It has a flight endurance of over twenty hours, and it covered an operational radius of over sixty miles. Penguin C small drone has the ability for long-range inspection. The growing demand for fixed-wing small drones is due to its high-end surveillance range capacity.

Additionally, the market is segmented by rotary-wing and is expecting to dominate the small drones market during the forecast period. Rotary wing small drones used for commercial applications, such as photography & video shooting in the film industry. These drones are also used in the defense sector for surveillance purposes. It has the ability to switch between flying like a fixed-wing aircraft and hovering like a multi-copter. It has the ability to take off and land vertically with additional energy-saving features.

By Power Source

“Growing Need of Advance Batteries for Small UAVs Propelling the Growth of the Market”

Based on the power source, the small UAV market is segmented into the lithium-ion cells, hybrid fuel cells, solar cells. Amongst these, the lithium-ion cells segment of the small drones market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the review period. This growth is attributed to the increasing use of lithium-ion cells batteries in the small UAVs as these batteries have a high energy density, and they have a higher voltage per cell. Lithium-ion batteries enhance the drone endurance capacity, which is a major constraint of small drone operators.

Hybrid cells are also used in small drones due to their features such as flexibility in design, lightweight, and cost-effective drones for various applications. Hydrogen-powered cells also offer high endurance to small drones. It helps to extend the duration of surveillance, which attracts most of the defense users. They are majorly used to inspect the large area as well as inspecting the broader geographical regions. Solar cells are also used in small drones due to their thinness and practicality in design and other features.

By Size

“Increase in Use of Small Drones for Surveillance, and Reconnaissance During the Battlefield Management Propelling the Growth of the Market”

Based on the size, the small drones market segmented into micro and mini & nano drones. The Micro segment is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period, owing to the growing demand from the armed forces for surveillance applications. In the battlefield operation, defense forces need a micro drone to help them capture real-time images and videos of the battlefield. Microdrones are used in recreational applications mostly for aerial imaging and other related applications. Also, microdrones are used for sense and detect critical infrastructure, through laser scanning for building information modeling (BIM) applications. These drones are cost-effective, and it has the capacity of a high-performance solution to respond quickly and effectively to the undefined surrounding environment.

By Application

“Increase in use of Small Drone in the Infrastructure Surveying, and Assets Management Drives the Growth of the Market”

Based on the application, the small drones market segmented into military, civil & commercial, homeland security, and consumer. The civil & commercial segment of the market projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. It is due to the increased adoption of small drones for several industries. In the maritime sector, small drones are also used in the marine industry to track the ship movement near coastal areas and at ports. Applications of small drones in the construction industry to analyze construction progress and assets management is driving the demand for small drones for commercial applications. Small drones are used in the construction industry to capture pictures of high-value properties, which further helps in project management and collecting real-time data.

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Small drones have a lucrative opportunity in military applications, as it is majorly designed for surveillance operations. The U.S. Army has purchased ‘Coyote” drones from Raytheon company. The Coyote is a small drone equipped with a fire-control radar system used to destroy small UAVs during the battlefield operation. The increasing demand for small drones for homeland security is projected to boost the market.

Small drones are also used to deliver consumer goods from local retailers. In 2016, Amazon, a U.S.-based e-commerce company, provided the first online order by using a small drone. Several food delivery services use small drones for faster and cost-efficient food delivery; for example, the Iceland-based AHA company uses small UAVs to deliver fast food. The increasing use of small drones in several industries is anticipated to boost the market during the forecast period.


North America is the largest market in the small drones and is projected to lead the market during the review period. It is due to the growing investments in the small drone from several business firms. Increasing research and development (R&D) activities in the field of small drones are propelling the growth of the market in the U.S. The increasing use of small drones for border surveillance as well as maritime surveillance activities in countries such as the US and Canada is projected to boost the market in North America.

The Asia Pacific also shows considerable growth in the small drones and is expected to grow at the fastest growth rate during the forecast timeline. The growth is attributed to the high demand for small drones from emerging economies, including China, India, and Japan. China has become the leading manufacturer of small UAVs over the past decade. In China, small drones are majorly used in agriculture for land inspection, monitoring, surveying and surveillance applications in construction, infrastructure, power & energy, and other industries. The government of China is also providing several subsidy programs as well as lucrative domestic policies that help to promote the usage of small drones.

North America Small Drones market size, 2018

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Europe also shows remarkable growth in the small drones market. The U.K has one of the largest fleets of small drones in Europe. Small drones are widely used by the police forces and law enforcement departments in the U.K. The defense forces also use small drones for surveillance purposes. In France, the increased deployment of UAVs for several commercial and defense applications are propelling the growth of the market. At the same time, countries such as Germany, Italy, and Sweden are highly adopting small drones for several commercial and military applications, which is expected to boost the market in Europe.

The Middle East & Africa represent a considerable growth opportunity for the market. South Africa is also adopting small drones to carry out deliveries of medical services. The growing demand for a fixed-wing small drone for commercial and military purposes in the region is propelling the growth od the market in the region. An increase in the use of small drones for commercial use such as 3D scanning, infrastructure mapping and surveying in the agriculture and oil and gas industry in the  Latin America region is propelling the growth of the market.


Key players such as 3D Robotics, DJI, Parrot Drones SAS, EHANG, and others comprise of major market share in the global small drones market.

Small UAVs manufacturers are majorly focusing on drone contracts with the government as well as a private firm. Moreover, these companies are expanding their business through extensive strategies such as acquisitions, joint ventures, as well as focusing on the product portfolio.

List Of Key Companies Covered:

  • 3D Robotics

  • DJI

  • Parrot Drones SAS

  • AeroVironment, Inc.

  • 3DR



  • Kespry


  • Delair

  • AguaDrone.com

  • Textron

  • Autel Robotics USA


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The report offers in-depth detailed coverage of the small drones market, which includes industry chain structure, definitions, commercial as well as military applications, and classifications. Small drones market analysis mainly provided for the international markets, including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, investment plans, business strategy, and opportunity.

Along with this, the report provides an analysis of the global market dynamics and competitive landscape for the key manufacturers of the small drones market.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Fixed-Wing

  • Rotary-Wing

  • Hybrid/Transitional

By Power Source

  • Lithium-ion cells

  • Hybrid Fuel cells

  • Solar cells

By Size

  • Micro

  • Mini & Nano

By Application

  • Military

  • Civil & Commercial

  • Homeland Security

  • Consumer

By Geography

  • North America (The U.S., and Canada)

  • Europe (The U.K, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, Australia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America)

  • Middle East& Africa (The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa)


  • In August 2019, Aerovironment and United States Army signed a contract with a valuation of USD 45 million to supply RQ-11B Raven, which is a small unmanned aircraft system.

  • In August 2019, Textron Inc., and the U.S. Army awarded a contract with a valuation of USD 100 million to develop scout drones for the replacements of RQ-7 Shadow drones.

  • In Nov-18, AeroVironment and the U.S. Department of Defense signed a contract with a valuation of USD 3.2 million to provide RQ-20B Puma AE II small unmanned aircraft systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market was valued at USD 6.46 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 22.55 billion by 2026.

Growing at a CAGR of 15.92% the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026)

The civil & commercial segment estimated to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

Increasing demand for small-sized spy drones in the military is triggering the growth of the market.

3D Robotics, DJI, Parrot Drones SAS, EHANG, and among others are the leading manufacturing companies in the market.

North America projected to be the largest shareholder in the market.

Artificial Intelligence in UAVs is a new trend in the market.

Small Drones Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
  • Feb, 2020
  • 2018
  • 2015-2017
  • 150


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