The global drone market is anticipated to witness significant growth in the coming years owing to increasing use of drones for commercial and defense purposes. Drone is a flying robot that is controlled using remote control or self-automation software. It is also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) owing to its ability to fly long distances without a human pilot aboard. Initially, they were used in military operations as a cheaper and safer alternative to manned aircraft. Now, they are extensively used for commercial and entertainment purposes.
Rising demand for aerial services in the agriculture and defense sectors can augment market growth in the coming years. Increasing R&D investments by manufacturing companies to develop advanced unmanned vehicles and widen their application scope can stimulate growth of market. Relaxed policies by governments across the globe on the use of UAVs is anticipated to propel market growth in coming years. Increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles for fire-fighting, traffic monitoring, search and rescue operations, photography, and delivery purposes can spur product demand across the globe.
Stringent government regulations pertaining to risk associated with use of these vehicles and privacy of people can restrict market growth. However, positive amendments in regulations by the governments of developing countries for the use of UAVs under certain conditions are likely to create lucrative opportunities for the market.
The market can be segmented on the basis of product, technology, and application. Based on product, the market can be divided as rotary wing, fixed wing, and hybrid drones. In terms of technology, the market can be categorized into semi-autonomous, remotely operated, and autonomous drones. On the basis of application, the market can be segmented into agriculture, remote sensing and mapping, inspection and monitoring, emergency management, wildlife research and preservation, and aerial photography.
North America is expected to hold a significant market share attributed to increasing use of UAVs for aerial photography and video filming. New regulations proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States (U.S.) regarding usage of UAVs for commercial applications can propel market growth. According to these regulations, small drones weighing less than half a pound (250 grams) can be used to fly over people in unrestricted areas owing to low risk. In addition, specifically designed UAVs that are not likely to cause significant injuries to humans can be used in unrestricted areas. Increasing investments by US government to develop advanced UAVs that can be used for military applications. For instance, MDA introduced new drones that can protect U.S. from Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). These UAVs are equipped with advanced laser weapons to destroy enemy missiles leaving the launch pad. Such developments in the field can significantly drive the regional market in the coming years.
Asia Pacific is predicted to observe a robust growth in future owing to increasing use of drones for commercial and personal purposes. Supportive government regulations in developing countries, such as Japan and India, on usage of UAVs for multiple applications can augment market growth. For instance, Japanese government is planning to draft guidelines for underwater drones in the coming years due to growing need for their secure use. These UAVs are also used to collect data on seabeds and their geological characteristics. Launch of advanced products by local manufacturing companies is likely to gain traction among consumers. For instance, Yamaha launched a new multi-rotor industrial drone named YMR-01. This multicopter can be used for various agricultural applications. Farmers can use it for spraying fertilizers on their fields. The device can spray one hectare per flight. In addition, Indian government introduced new regulations related to the use of UAVs for commercial purposes. People can fly small UAVs without a Unique Identification Number (UAN) and legal permission in unrestricted airspace. However, people need to obtain a UIN and operator’s permit in case of larger drones. Moreover, government is expected to focus on the safety of these unmanned vehicles. All these factors are likely to boost regional market growth in the coming years.
Some of the leading companies operating in the drone market are Hoverfly Technologies, 3D Robotics, Intel Corporation, AeroVironment, and Yuneec International.
Research Support Specialist, USA