The global unmanned aerial vehicle market size is poised to witness significant surge in terms of revenue during the forecast period of 2018 to 2025. UAV, sometimes referred to as drones, function without a human pilot aboard. They are often deployed in missions that are dangerous for manned operations. These devices are increasingly becoming an important component of modern warfare. Their operation can be either remote controlled, semi-autonomous, or fully autonomous.
Drones are convenient to supply necessities, including water and food, in areas affected by natural calamities including earthquakes and floods. Small-sized unmanned aerial vehicles are used in finding out location of hostages during rescue operations. Increasing terrorism and natural calamities are leading to upswing in the number of rescue operations conducted every year. This, in turn, has been working in favour of the market.
Over the past few years, commercial purpose usage of UAV has increased significantly. Growing trend of goods delivery using these devices is projected to provide an upthrust to the market. Drone delivery services are anticipated to provide ample opportunities to companies in developing countries that have inadequate transportation infrastructure. They are also finding applications in several industries, including telecommunications, oil and gas, and mining.
Increasing military budgets of several countries is estimated to stoke the growth of the unmanned aerial vehicle market. Several governments worldwide are investing in UAV development and procurement. In November 2018, Australian government announced that it will be buying 12 to 16 MQ-9 Reapers for reconnaissance. These unmanned aerial vehicles are the next generation of MQ-1 Predator drone, which has been used by the U.S. since 1990.
Growing focus on improvement of flight control systems is likely to boost their adoption for military operations. Rising shift towards modern agriculture practices is also expected to spur the growth of the market. UAV are used for monitoring livestock, crops, water levels, and crop spraying. These devices provide a 3D field image that is used for planning best practices for cultivation.
On the other hand, strict government regulations can limit the growth of the market. Ethical concerns pertaining to the usage of unmanned aerial vehicles are poised to hamper growth prospects. Nevertheless, several governments are trying to encourage the use of these devices for well-being and therefore, supporting research activities and organizing drone-making competitions that will augment the global UAV market over the coming years.
Some of the common types of unmanned aerial vehicle are fixed-wing, single rotor, multirotor, and hybrid vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). In terms of range, these devices can be classified into beyond line of sight (BLOS), visual line of sight (VLOS), and extended visual line of sight (EVLOS). Drones with visual line of sight are used in commercial purposes.
North America is projected to hold a prominent position in the global arena during the forecast period. Sizeable military budget in the U.S. coupled with early adoption of drones in military and defence applications have been contributing to the growth of the market in this region. Europe is also estimated to be a significant revenue contributor in the market owing to increasing use of drones in farming practices.
Asia Pacific is anticipated to register promising growth during the same period, owing to surging adoption of UAV in military and commercial applications. Countries such as India, Japan, Korea, and China are promoting development of these devices and implementing these devices for surveillance purposes.
Companies operating in the market have been making significant investments in R&D activities to create advanced models. They have been focusing on different aspects, such as navigation, size, class, and range, of their offering in order to tailor them to requirements of end users. Some of the key players in the global UAV market are BAE Systems, PLC, Boeing, Elbit Systems, DJI, Israel Aerospace Industries, General Atomics, Textron, Northrop Grumman, Parrot, AeroVironment, and Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Research Support Specialist, USA