Drone industry to be worth US$92 billion by 2030
The small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) market continues to develop at an impressive pace, with global tech market advisory firm ABI Research predicting the industry to be worth US$92 billion by 2030.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has dented consumer shipments and hindered commercial rollout, this has been mitigated by increased use of drones for public service responses and surveillance by both local and national police forces. Looking forward, ABI Research says new regulatory changes and the slow rollout of remote ID and 5G will enable an enormous upscaling of drone operations, from single remotely operated aircraft to semi-autonomous fleets that will be able to operate beyond visual line of sight courtesy of impending unmanned traffic management (UTM) infrastructure. This will provide the base from which companies like Amazon can launch drone delivery services.
“We have gone through various phases of the drone industry, from its genesis in the military to the proliferation of consumer drones,” said Rian Whitton, Senior Robotics Analyst at ABI Research. “Since Chinese developer DJI monopolised that space, the attention has shifted to commercial applications. While some of the initial hype has subsided, providers and end users are refocusing on developing the necessary supporting infrastructure and services to make drone technology viable at scale.”
Overall, the drone market is set to be worth US$92 billion by 2030, with a CAGR rate of 25% over the US$9.5 billion in annual revenue for 2020. Of this revenue, 70% is in the commercial sector (US$63 billion). The largest number of drone registrations are currently in the United States, where the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tracks 1.7 million consumer drone pilots and 400,000 commercial operators. China is catching up with 400,000 registered drones, while the European Union (EU) has over 1 million registrants. Among the biggest markets are security and industrial inspection, with growing opportunities in delivery, agriculture and emergency services.
With their involvement in the public response to the pandemic, drone companies have highlighted their value. Now, the story of the next decade will likely be the development of key technologies like edge computing, cloud services and 5G connectivity enabling mass deployments, in tandem with regulatory harmonisation.
“While cloud services will help enable the collection and orchestration of massive amounts of data, 5G will significantly reduce latency for mission-critical drone operations,” Whitton said. “The advancement of edge computing and processing hardware will also be important, as drones can be untethered from the remote operation and become truly autonomous.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s ‘Small Unmanned Aerial Systems: Annual Update’ application analysis report. To access the report, click here.
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