The ever expanding global drone industry is not waiting on its heels for government policy to be shoved down their throats before raining down investments and efforts to open up this new hardware and computing market.
A growing market of drone software and hardware sellers is already providing for a long list of clients in various sectors like agriculture, land management, energy and construction. Many of these sellers are small startup companies and although bigger defense focused companies are starting to invest in drone technology, it is still not there yet.
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In a recent report from BI intelligence, it indicates the various levels of the growing global market for commercial drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. The report is 32 pages long and it shows the business opportunities in commercial drone technology and also looks at advances and barriers broken in this industry. It highlights the foremost business to business markets in terms of applications and end users and details an exclusive list of a large number of notable companies already very much involved in the space. Finally, it goes on to reveal the current state of US regulation of commercial drones which was recently upended by the issuing of the Federal Aviation Administration’s draft rules for commercial drone flights. Not a lot of people know that many companies are already authorized to fly small drones commercially under a special US government exemption program.
Highlighted below are some of the main points from the report:
The global commercial drone market will take shape around applications in a handful of industries: agriculture, energy, utilities, mining, construction, real estate, news media, and film production.
Most growth in the drone industry is on the commercial/civilian side, as the shift away from the military market gains momentum. The market for commercial/civilian drones will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% between 2015 and 2020, compared with 5% growth on the military side.
E-commerce and package delivery will not be an early focus of the drone industry.
Legacy drone manufacturers focused mostly on military clients do not have a natural advantage in the fast-evolving civilian drone market.
Proposed US regulation would effectively end the ban on commercial drone flights and would allow low-altitude flights of small drones within view of a ground-based pilot. The rules are unlikely to be finalized before early 2017. Some believe it will happen earlier. But we believe most likely that widespread but heavily restricted commercial UAV flights will become routine sometime that year.
Technology barriers are at once a roadblock and a huge business opportunity.
Many of the notable early commercial UAV manufacturers are emerging outside of the US market: These include Switzerland-based senseFly (owned by France-based Parrot), Canadian firm Aeryon, publicly traded Swedish firm CybAero, Shenzhen, China-based DJI, and Korea-based Gryphon.
The commercial-drone industry is still young but has begun to see some consolidation and major investments from large industrial conglomerates, chip companies, and defense contractors.
To put it simply, this drone report is the only place you can get the full picture of the state of affairs.