The vast amount of technological advancement we have witnessed over the last two decades is astounding. The concept of unmanned aviation vehicles, or drones as they are commonly referred to, would have seemed like something out of a science fiction novel to someone just 40 years ago. Yet here we are, with fully functioning drones that serve a wide range of functions. Drones have been used heavily for military and defense applications, GPS and scouting work, photography, and as a hobby, just to name a few. Even Amazon has toyed with the idea of using drones to carry out deliveries.
This widespread application has created a large industry, one worth almost 8 billion dollars and expected to grow to 12 million by the end of 2020. This large increase presents a great deal of opportunity for investors who can identify trends in the industry. Here we will look at just that. We will begin with a short description of what unmanned aviation vehicles are, where they are used, and what are the current trends in the UAV industry.
What Are UAVs: As previously stated, UAV stands for unmanned aviation vehicles and most commonly known as drones. Drones come in all sizes, some are so tiny they can nearly fit in one’s pocket whereas others are the size of a small plane. The main feature of a drone is that they can be controlled remotely by a human operator or a piece of software in conjunction with GPS and sensor technology.
Where Are Drones Being Used: Most people became familiar with drones when they emerged on the hobbyist market. People began purchasing drones simply to fly them. Shortly after drones were utilized in civilian photography and video applications.
Drones are also being heavily used in military/defense applications, being used for reconnaissance missions as well as for bombing raids and air support. In fact, the Pentagon just passed 6 billion dollars in funding for drone research and development.
Surveying And Mapping: One of the largest growing areas for drone technology is aerial surveying and mapping. What once required either on foot expeditions or manned aircraft to achieve can now be done with unmanned aerial vehicles. This aspect of drone use has become so popular that it accounts for roughly 37% of the civilian drone market expansion over the last 2 years.
Aerial Infrastructure Inspection: This area has greatly expanded due to the rise of pipeline and pipeline infrastructure. Previously, if a company wanted to inspect the state of specific sections of the pipeline it would require either sending people on land or hiring a manned aircraft, both are which are costly. Drones have allowed for a cost-effective method for inspection. This does not apply solely to pipelines, drones are also being used to inspect agricultural land and railroads. Aerial infrastructure inspection has accounted for 25% of the civilian drone market increase over the last couple of years.
Transport And Warehousing Industry: Uses for drones in the energy sector, primarily for maintaining and supporting pipeline infrastructure, is the largest civilian drone sector but not the fastest growing. That title belongs to the transportation and warehousing industry.
China Will Become World’s Largest UAV Market: As of now the USA is the world’s largest drone market, followed closely by China. This is not expected to last, with the Chinese drone market forecasted to grow to 18.4 billion compared to the expected 11.4 billion for the USA in 2024.
Military Largest Drone Application: It might be surprising to some people, but 75% of all UAV market revenue in 2019 was through military contracts. This means that defense spending in the USA is the driving force behind drone sales. The US recently approved 6 billion dollars to be spent solely on UAV technology.
India Is The Largest Emerging Drone Market: India did not legalize drones until 2018, years after most other large nations. This means that one of the world’s largest markets has just been exposed to drone technology. Already the fastest-growing drone market, India is expected to become the world’s third-largest UAV technology market by 2024.
Drone Sales Expected To Triple From 2019 To 2024: Based on unit sales numbers it is believed that sales of Drones and other UAV technologies will triple by just 2024.
Note: This is a guest blog by Beatrix Potter, who is a professional technology writer, currently writing for Write My Papers. Over the last decade, she has written on a wide range of tech-related topics.