- 1 Definition / Scope
- 2 Market Overview
- 3 Key Metrics
- 4 Market Risks
- 5 Top Market Opportunities
- 6 Market Drivers
- 7 Market Restraints
- 8 Industry Challenges
- 9 Technology Trends
- 10 Pricing Trends
- 11 Regulatory Trends
- 12 Other Key Market Trends
- 13 Market Size and Forecast
- 14 Market Outlook
- 15 Technology Roadmap
- 16 Distribution Chain Analysis
- 17 Competitive Landscape
- 18 Key Market Players
- 19 Strategic Conclusion
- 20 Further Reading
- 21 Appendix
Definition / Scope
A drone refers to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which essentially functions as a flying robot that is equipped with onboard sensors and GPS often remotely controlled by software embedded in its system. Initially, drones were used for the military purpose as they don’t put a pilot’s life at risk. However, the adoption of drones now has skyrocketed across construction, agriculture, mining, surveying, real state, and logistics.
Types of drones
Based on the type of aerial platform used, drones can be classified into 4 types:
- Multi Rotor Drones
- Fixed Wing Drones
- Single Rotor Helicopter
- Fixed Wing Hybrid VTOL
Multi-rotors are fundamentally used as an easiest and cheapest option for capturing images from the sky as they give superior control over position and framing. Nevertheless, these drones couldn’t be used as a large scale aerial mapping because of its limited speed and power. Normally, these drones when carrying a lightweight camera like that of GoPro can fly roughly 20-30 minutes.
In contrast to multi-rotors, fixed-wing drones cover a longer distance, capture larger maps and fly for longer times. However, unlike multi-rotors, these drones are difficult to stabilize in the air. Due to the motion issues, such drones require a runway to launch them and again need a parachute or net to capture them safely while landing.
As the name explains, a single rotor drone has just one rotor to hold it up combined with a tail rotor to control its head. These drones can be used for flying long distance and can also be powered by a gas motor. It is used for a heavy payload because of its physical layout of propeller and rotor blade.
Fixed Wing Hybrid
These types of drones are still in the development phase, only the prototypes have been unveiled. These drones augment fixed wing model with that of rotor based model.
Globally, the value of drone-powered industries is currently predicted to cross to roughly USD 127.3 billion. Overall, there has been a tremendous investment in research and development activities in drone technology to enable businesses to enhance their growth.
Infrastructure, transport, media and entertainment, telecommunication, agriculture, and mining are the hot-bed of industries where UAV technology is becoming mainstream. In the past, drones were limited to defense applications. However, in recent years, technology has improved significantly, and, as their size has reduced, their numbers and capabilities have increased.
Today, UAVs have emerged as an economical solution for commercial applications such as surveying, mapping, and aerial photography, among others. Drone facility in infrastructure alone is making the industry worth USD 45.2 billion. Similarly, the value of drone solutions in transportation stands at USD 13 billion worldwide. While many companies in diverse industries have identified autonomous tool as a major trend, the regulation does not yet allow for such models. Major countries currently lack clear legislation that would allow the use of autonomous tools like UAVs.
China-based DJI captures 70% of the market for consumer and commercial drones. But several smaller companies, such as 3D Robotics, Lilu, Yuneec, and Parrot are all trying to chip away at DJI's market share.
The enterprise drone market has the significantly greater long-term potential both in size and economic impact than the consumer or military drone industries. It is the smallest but fastest-growing drone market by revenue.
As for military drones, Israel and the U.S. make up more than 80% of all military drone exports worldwide.
North America is leading the UAV market due to increased drone application in military, homeland security, and commercial areas. However, the drone market in Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing segment in the world.
Defense and security segment forms the large majority of the market. The US market accounts for the majority of global military demand and has witnessed meteoric growth over the past decade. Other major markets for military UAVs include Israel, France, Germany, and the UK.
The military market can be broken into seven segments as R&D tests and evaluation, UAVs, Payloads, Ground Control Systems, Service, support and maintenance, Training, Data management. The global payload market for UAVs is currently valued at USD4 billion and is forecast to grow to USD 6 billion over the next 10 years.
An estimated 446 manufactures of drones currently exist in the world, with Europe taking up the leading position.
Drone marker share is primarily dominated by military applications capturing 70% share. Military drone market segment is valued USD 11.6 billion. Drone market is likely to account for a moderate share in the commercial application owing 17% market share with USD 6.4 billion market valuation where demand generates from the agricultural sector for the irrigation, soil variation, pest, and fungal infestations.
Consumer applications accounted for the share of 13% in the drone market owing to the rising usage in the concerts capturing and top view location viewing applications. Consumer drone generates from hobbyist group representing USD 4.4 billion in value.
|Base Year||2018||Researched through internet|
- Payload loss: With drones, it’s often the loss of the payload not the aircraft itself in case of damage or collision since the cameras used to do so are expensive. Because of the increasing affordability of drones, the payload often has a higher intrinsic value than the aircraft itself. Additionally, cameras and other payloads are usually slung below the aircraft, meaning that in the event of a hard or emergency landing, damage to the payload is almost certain.
- Theft: Small portable drones make easy and attractive targets to thieves, and the industry hasn’t developed many internal safeguards against stolen drones.
Top Market Opportunities
Drones in Construction
Data gathered from drone mapping can be integrated into various construction tools such as Procore, BIM 360, Civil 3D, Bluebeam, etc. These tools eventually act as superintendent and project management to mitigate job site risk, ensure quality control and assurance, plan preconstruction, and track progress. Drones embedded with new technologies can produce very accurate 3D maps that are further used to analyze job sites and mines, to assess risks, to measure the volume of excavated materials, to make informed decisions.
Drones are of great importance in the survey process in the construction industry. They enable to hover over sites in all weather conditions, and store and transmit accurate data gives them an edge over manual processes. Another application of drone involves automated mapping conducted by drones using Ground Control Points (GCP). They can plan a flight path and capture geo-coordinates to create accurate field maps.
Furthermore, monitoring of the progress and quality of work against a project design and schedule, and reporting deviations from the actual design to avoid cost or time overruns is easier with drones. It is practically impossible for project managers to keep a tab on real-time progress in every corner of a site. This is now possible with drones with an aerial map. Even post-construction, drones are used for data collection from inaccessible and difficult-to-reach areas such as roofs, building enclosures, on and under bridges, along busy highways and other elevated structures, without additional safety risks to personnel.
Drones in Agriculture
The software leveraged through drone data will help analyze various crop yield for tomatoes, citrus, cotton, potatoes, corn, etc. Drones might be integrated with other platforms enabling 3D maps for soil and field analysis or information on crop health, vegetation index, irrigation efficiency, crop development. In addition, the drones can perform operations such as planting or crop spraying.
Drones help to get insights on the health of the soil and the nutrients in it before sowing. This crucial data may further be used to plan irrigation. Moreover, precise field maps enhance the utilization of resources such as water, compost, and others.
The USA and Japan are the early adopters of aerial agricultural drones. Japan utilizes aerial equipment, particularly agriculture drones, to provide crop dusting and seeding to rice paddies; whereas satellite imaging, manned aircraft, and agriculture drones have been adopted in the United States for crop dusting efficiency over large fields and precision agriculture farm management. The significance of drone application in agriculture can be traced from the fact that a single drone can inspect up to 1,000 acres of farmland a day.
Global agriculture drone market was valued USD 1100 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 2.9 billion by 2021.
Drones are transforming the supply chains by autonomously navigating through warehouses and avoiding obstacles. Drones embedded with artificial intelligence automatically upload resulting scans to the cloud and synchronize it to the inventory management system.
- Regulatory exemption: In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted hundreds of new exemptions for companies to operate drones in the U.S. These exemptions included several new use cases in multiple industries, such as insurance, construction, and agriculture. Each of these leniencies boosted the application of drones for commercial purposes.
- Advancements in drone technology for payload: Unlike regular drones that use the battery as a power source and fly for only 20-30 minutes carrying just 3-5 kilograms, hybrid drones are being tested using gasoline as a power source generating 100 KW of power which becomes efficient to carry a payload of up to 100 kilograms for 3-5 hours. One such example is a drone tested by MIT lab.
- Lack of standard regulations: There is no global-level regulatory framework for UAVs that addresses the public interests such as safety and privacy. Nevertheless, some individual countries are steadily formulating policies relating to drone operation in their territory.
- Privacy: Privacy is one of the principal restraints to UAV operations as legal operators assess peoples’ rights around this new technology. Approval for operations is often predicated on proof that rights will not be violated. However, the risk of hacking an UAV and using it for dangerous exploits exists and Global Positioning System or control links can be jammed causing loss of control of the UAV. Also, dropping items from UAVs is illegal in many countries, and spraying from drones and the carriage of dangerous goods is highly regulated or prohibited.
- Safety hazards: Generally, the safety hazards associated with drone operation include high loss of altitude, loss of control, loss of transmission, collision with manned or unmanned aircraft, loss of navigation system, severe weather, etc.
- Technological challenges: Drones require uniform packaging, with some kind of uniform payload delivery station, fulfilling such packaging globally that satisfy these aspects of the delivery process becomes a great challenge for companies that use drones in transportation and delivery. Another big issue is the battery life, the drones that keep hovering for longer hours in the construction and mining sites require durability in terms of capturing images without a pause. The longer battery life will also enable the process less disturbing.
- Cost: Most of the drones till date are capable of carrying weight below 20 pounds. It means these drones need to be much many time to deliver the package confiscating heavier weight. Also, the products with greater volume couldn’t be picked up by drones because of the packaging and carrying interface of the drones. It will create a cost burden to the business when it comes to last mile delivery. Moreover, there is a cost associated with the order if picked up by someone else than the actual person who ordered it as drone cannot recognize who is the genuine owner of those goods.
The advancement in cameras, edge computing, and mobile hardware processing have unlocked new avenues for drone technology. Drones these days generate real-time maps without cloud-processed data sets that require the internet. Maps captured from drones are instant in-field images that help for quicker analysis and decision-making.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are being used to help process massive amounts of aerial data collected each day into meaningful information for decision-making which is difficult to manually analyze.
AI facilitates the drone with the capability to make independent decisions. For instance, it could have the ability to identify unfavorable flight conditions and bypass them entirely. Similarly, Machine Learning allows drones to take data and use that to make decisions in the future replacing pilot from repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
Personal drones are gaining popularity since they become the affordable extension of consumers' smartphones for taking photographs and selfies and for other entertainment options. These drones fly a short distance with no more than 5,000 meters and for one hour, weighing less than 2 kilograms and are priced less than USD 5,000. Commercial drones are significantly priced higher in comparison with personal drones.
In 2016, the FAA passed Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, that legalized commercial drone operations in the USA.
* Regulation in India
In India, the UAV related policy was unveiled in 2018. The policy covers necessary regulations under ‘Requirements for Operation of Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft’. ‘Digital Sky Platform’ is India’s only platform for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM).
UTM facilitates registration, operation, and management of drones through a single-window mechanism. Indian UAV policy also classifies drones into nano, micro, small, medium and large categories. Both local drones and imported drones are required to obtain an Equipment Type Approval (ETA) from the Wireless Planning Coordination (WPC) wing of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to operate in unlicensed frequency bands. The owners and operators are also required to obtain an import clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation as well as a license to import drones from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
On the other hand, local drone manufacturers will be required to procure an industrial license from the Department of Policy and Promotion (DIPP) taking into account the dual-use category of drones, i.e. defense and civil. All civil drones will require a UIN and UAOP issued by the DGCA to operate in India and pilots must be licensed and trained. While operations of all civil drones will be restricted to the following conditions:
- During daylight (except those flying in enclosed spaces)
- Within visual line-of-sight (VLOS)
- A maximum height of 400 ft. Above Ground Limit (AGL)
- No drones to fly over designated No Drone Zones
* Regulation in Japan
In Japan, drone regulation was passed in 2015 and it prioritizes privacy as one of the principal components to abide. Meanwhile, it has become a barrier to UAV operations. Permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is only required for operations more than 150 meters above ground level (AGL), near airports or above densely inhabited districts.
Otherwise, operations must occur in the daytime, VLOS, clear of events where people gather and more than 30 meters from people or property on the ground. Transporting hazardous materials and dropping from UAVs is not allowed without permission of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Rwanda enacted its UAS regulations in 2016 and has issued only one permit to Zipline so far.
* Regulation in Europe
In 2012, the European Commission published the first formal EU strategy document on UAVs. In the same year, the European Commission set up the European RPAS (remotely-piloted aircraft systems) Steering Group and mandated it to establish a roadmap for the safe integration of civil RPAS into the European aviation system. In 2013, the European RPAS Steering Group published its Roadmap with a target date of 2018 for the full integration of drones into commercial airspace.
* Regulation in the USA
In the USA, the rules for small UAVs started forming in 2012. Once finalized, the proposed framework will permit sUAS operations for non-recreational (i.e. commercial) purposes without requiring airworthiness certification, exemption, or a certificate of authorization.
Effective in 2015, FAA requires owners of small UAVs (weighing more than 0.55 pound and less than 55 pounds) to go through a web-based registration process prior to operation paying a USD 5 registration fee and must be renewed every three years. In addition to registering online, commercial drone operators are required to obtain a Section 333 exemption. Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 grant the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the NAS.
The FAA regulation limits drone in terms of altitude and operation. Drones cannot fly above 400 feet of height and it must be operated by a person holding a remote pilot certificate. The UAS IPP is a federal program that overrules the FAA’s Part 107 rules, which are applicable to small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) created to allow states to test to various types of drone flights.
* Regulation in China
In China, the Civil Aviation Administration of China revised the regulations related to drone operation licensing and commercial applications of drones in 2017. Moreover, the administration also released guidelines related to the small unmanned aircraft for trial implementations. This allows a relatively broad flight area that enables drones to fly out of the visible area or in dense residential areas. In addition, the government is also working on enhancing the safety of the drones.
Other Key Market Trends
Growth in the number of certified pilots
The number of FAA-certified remote pilots is growing dramatically about 50% over the year, to approximately 115,000. The increase is mostly made up of pilots who work for companies, enterprises or public agencies with internal drone programs. It’s therefore clear that commercial industries are now driving growth rather than individual interest as in the past years.
Retail industry gaining momentum
A US-based online retailer Amazon has successfully completed a trial called ‘Prime Air’ in which a drone guided by GPS delivers a package within 30 minutes of order by a customer that autonomously operates in on boarding and back to the warehouse monitored and controlled by a system. Similarly, Zipline, a drone technology company is delivering emergency blood and medicine to remote villages in Rwanda. In 2018, the company announced plans to build a drone delivery plant in Rwanda, with the goal of expanding its medical deliveries to more hospitals.
Market Size and Forecast
- Consumer drone market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 22.1% from 2017 to 2020 while the professional drone market is forecasted to rise at much higher CAGR of 77.1% between 2017 to 2020.
- The global drone market is projected to reach USD 21.47 billion by 2021. And it is further forecasted to reach USD 48.88 billion by 2023 from USD 17.82 billion in 2017 at a CAGR of 18.32%.
- The Indian drone market is predicted to reach USD 885.7 million during 2018-2023 increasing at a CAGR of 18%. China’s drone market is likely to grow annually by 40 percent to have an output value of USD 9.13 billion by 2020.
- The market in Europe for UAV will grow from USD 259 million in 2017 to USD 5 billion in 2037. In the USA alone, the market was worth USD 3.8 billion in 2018 and will reach USD 4.4 billion by 2022.
In total, Gartner measured that worldwide production of personal drones neared 3 million units in 2017. It also forecasted that the number will rise to over 5 million combined in 2018 and 2019 alone. There were around 1.1 million drones in the United States alone in 2017. By 2019, that number will ultimately reach 2 million.
Looking purpose wise, more than 150,000 platforms have been registered for commercial use only. 168,000 commercial drones were registered in 2018, an increase of 58,000 from the previous year. The FAA expects more than 600,000 UAV to be flying for commercial purposes over the next five years. Of the total estimated registered commercial drones in 2020, 410,000 units will be shipped in the Asia-pacific region making up the largest shipments in the world. The Middle East and Africa make up the second largest region for total shipments with estimated 268,000 units in 2020. Similarly, 168,000 and 110,000 units will be delivered to Europe and America respectively.
Application wise, the drone logistics and transportation market is estimated to be valued at USD 11.20 billion in 2022 at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.01%. In addition, the market is further expected to grow to more than USD 82.1 billion in annual revenue by 2025.
Between 2018 and 2020, the market size for drones’ application in the military will reach USD 70 billion. On the other hand, the consumer drone market is estimated to hit USD 17 billion during the same period. Also, it is expected that there will be spending of USD 13 billion drones for commercial use. Consumer drone shipment is forecasted to hit 29 million in 2021, which would indicate a CAGR of 31.3%. For enterprise drones, the shipments would reach 805,000 in 2021 with a five-year CAGR of 51%.
The drone adoption in construction segment will likely witness a 239% yearly growth rate. Likewise, in the mining sector, there will be a 198% increment rate for adoption. Agriculture is the third largest segment to have a growth rate above 170%. Logistics is another emerging area where drone deployment is drastically increasing at a yearly rate of 136%.
- Emergency support and disaster management
Drones can play a vital role in emergency response systems and are capable of delivering blood supply and medicines in remotes areas. One such example comes from Rwanda where Zipline uses its drones to deliver blood at the transfusion centers in an emergency. Because of the geographical hurdles in the remote villages with no means of transportation, the drones have unconventionally acted as a life-saver for many patients.
Climate changes, which are triggering disasters, require governments and agencies to improve their disaster management systems by using advanced technologies. Their role goes beyond real-time surveillance, search and rescue operations. Drones can also help to ensure the delivery of essential medical first-aid and food items to affected areas
The biggest breakthrough in UAV technology will create affordable and reliable flight control/autopilot systems such as those provided by DJI and open source projects such as PX4 (3DR Pixhawk). Flight control systems are good enough that even inexperienced drone operators can have a good out-of-the-box experience.
The next step technology innovation will focus on giving drones the ability to see and avoid; in other words, focus on machine vision and obstacle avoidance.
These systems, which help drones avoid collisions and obstacles, are still in development, with strong solutions expected to emerge by 2025. Integrated air-traffic-management (ATM) systems: Drones currently fly below 400 feet that are below the height of commercial aircraft because of the collision potential. UTM solutions that can track drones and communicate with air-traffic-control systems for typical aircraft will be the technological breakthrough in coming years.
Counter Drone Solutions:
There is likely to be an increase in demand for counter drone solutions as many airports in the UK and USA have already invested millions in anti-drone technology. Institutions and companies are also increasingly favoring anti-drone technology to protect critical infrastructure and ordinary people from malicious drones. The rise in the awareness of the threats that rogue drones can present is likely to increase the demand for more of such companies and technologies. The global anti-drone market size is anticipated to reach USD 1.85 billion by 2024, registering a 24.1% CAGR.
Distribution Chain Analysis
- Drone operators: These are the registered drone service providers.
- Air navigation service provider (ANSP): Regulatory authority for UTM that sets the performance criteria for the UAV operations are referred to as ANSP.
- Communication system providers: Provide real-time tracking and enable UAV-to-UAV or manned aerial vehicle interaction.
- Data service providers: They help in feeding data and information into USS, which helps in proper flight planning.
- UAS service suppliers (USS): Key stakeholders who handle the core functionalities in the UTM spectrum are called USS.
- Component suppliers: Drone parts comprise sensors, motors, navigation, power source, and wireless network adapter, memory storage as hardware components.
There are 44 of the major players in the fast-rising and rapidly consolidating global commercial drone industry.
Hardware manufacturing for UAV aircraft is led by Chinese firms such as DJI, YUNEEC, EHANG, Xaircraft, and TTA while drone software and integrated aerial data service are provided primarily by 3D Robotics, INSITU, Precision Hawk, Aeryon, DroneDeploy, and ESRI. The drone hardware market is highly competitive and companies are shifting towards software and data analytics services.
DJI, 3D Robotics (3DR), SenseFly (acquired by Parrot), Yuneec, and Trimble are the top five most penetrated UAV makers among commercial UAV operators.
Majority of the drone manufacturers have their operation in North America. The region captures just below 30% of the global market share. Europe and Asia-pacific have almost strong competition in terms of manufacturing having nearly 26% of market share. The Middle East is the emerging region for these drone manufacturers constituting 16% of the share.
Key Market Players
- DJI: Shenzhen Da-Jiang Innovation Technology Co. (DJI) originated as a research project in 2005. In 2006, the owner named Frank founded DJI as a commercial company for robotics. In the initial years, it was selling RC helicopter flight control components. Its first consumer-facing flight control product was Ace One which took over US-made and German-made similar product. After a few years, the company made huge investments in camera drone and the eventual product was Phantom series of camera quadcopters. With this product, DJI captured about 70% market share. Unlike its competitors, DJI develops everything in-house for superior quality and reliability.
- YUNEEC: The privately held company is headquartered in China; Yuneec is the world leader in electric aviation. In 2014, Yuneec introduced the world's first ready-to-fly, out-of-the-box drone: The Typhoon Q500 quadcopter, this made the company and its products very popular amongst professionals and hobbyists.
- Parrot: Parrot is a French technology company that also makes automotive electronics and connected audio. It is a new entrant into the UAV/quadcopter market. In a short amount of time, Parrot has seized a large part of the commercial and civil UAV/quadcopter market with the AR Drone and its successor the AR.Drone2.0, a mid-range hobby drone with integrated FPV system controlled by a smartphone app.
Software and aerial data providers
- 3D Robotics: 3DR was founded by Chris Anderson as a hobbyist of building an autopilot airplane. In 2007, the founder started DIYdrones.com for makers and hackers to share their tips and questions on UAV as a bootlegging. This community is now known as the largest community for drones in the world. Initially, they started selling aerial robotics kits. Upon getting a lot of community support, it started rewarding the most contributing members. Currently, 3DR has the third largest market share in UAV marketplace.
- Precision Hawk: PrecisionHawk is a company based in North Carolina. The company offers end-to-end solutions in aerial data gathering, processing, and analysis for civilian industries by combining unmanned aerial systems, remote sensing technologies, and data analytics. PrecisionHawk is the owner of aerial data software, satellite imagery provider, and a low altitude traffic and airspace safety platform known as DataMapper, TerraServer, and LATAS, respectively.
- Aeryon: Aeryon Labs is a recognized technology and industry leader founded in 2007. The Canadian-controlled private company headquartered in Ontario is the trusted partner of civil and military customers, resellers and other commercial business associates around the world. Aeryon Labs provides small, unmanned aerial systems for a diverse range of military, public safety, and commercial applications.
- DroneDeploy: DroneDeploy is a provider of cloud-control software solutions for drones which include real-time mapping and data processing, workflows and automated flight safety checks. The company is associated with leading drone manufacturers like DJI to offer its software to end users in a variety of industries, including, real estate, agriculture, construction, mining and many other commercial and consumer arenas.
The use of drones in commercial sectors particularly in commerce logistics for last-mile delivery and agriculture is drastically increasing all over the world. COmpanies such as DJI and 3D robotics are vying for their larger pie in the wide range of applications. These players are heavily investing in drone R & D activities to develop highly efficient and innovative devices to boost the demand.
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- YOY - Year on Year