Five key insights on the current state of the drone industry

Drones have penetrated many industries, and companies are now using them in civil and commercial applications. Mark Sheehan of My Drone Authority tells you what to expect in the near future based on findings of Skylogic’s drone report.

Five key insights on the current state of the drone industry

Friday February 22, 2019,

7 min Read

The recent Skylogic 2018 Drone Market Sector Report provides insights on the drone market and examines worldwide drone software services, public agency users, and sales.

The study found a growing demand for the use of drone-acquired data in business operations and other insights in drone industry segments. A lot of businesses and enterprises have also adopted drone-acquired data for the efficiency of their operations.

More and more companies are expected to utilise drone technology to improve their efficiency and speed up the delivery of services. Below are five insights worth highlighting about the current state of the drone industry.


Photo by Karl Greif on Unsplash

Also read: Here’s all you need to know about India’s new drone policy

Ecosystems and partnerships to increase

Experts believe that drone solutions and partnerships in acquisitions and mergers fields will dominate the drone market in 2019. Companies will utilise their partnerships to establish and agree on standardised processes, which will make tasks less risky to human life, and get accomplished more efficiently than before.

With these partnerships, drone operators will gather more data in a short time, and with greater precision over other data gathering techniques. Based on the events that took place in the drone industry in previous years, researchers expect the sector to transform significantly in the future.

Drone operators and other players in the industry should expect more partnerships, improved networking, and testing for integration and regulations and many other trends towards the advancement of drone technology. In 2019, the drone industry will witness improvements in traffic management, cloud-based artificial intelligence, asset management system, and imaging technologies.

Investments in the drone industry will also shift from hardware to software in 2019. Companies will now focus on providing comprehensive drone solutions, which will require the integration of new software and tools. As a result, companies will have to look for techniques for manufacturing computer chips, technological advances, and economies of scale to continue improving their efficiency and driving the cost down through sensors and other drone platforms.

Software will drive growth

Significant growth in software licences, volumes of services entering the drone market, aircraft sales, and continued setting up of industrial/commercial operations will dominate the drone industry this year.

These trends will result in consolidation and restructuring, company layoffs, lower the barrier entry into the drone market, and increase completion across the industry. Also, the number of commercial drone flights will probably increase. While previous studies have documented that a lot of drones and aircraft are usually in the airspace at the same time, recent research has found that average users of drones only have two drones in the airspace. The study has also found that most companies use their drones in only two projects, and their drones don’t use up more than three hours in airspace.

The commercial drone market seems to be shifting to expensive aircraft, and the trend is expected to continue in 2019. For example, the average cost of a drone aircraft bought in the past 12 months increased to over $2,000. Futurists expect the trend to continue, and the cost of drone aircraft might even double as more companies adopt the technology.

The DJI effect

Over time, Chinese tech company DJI has become the leader in almost every software category and drone aircraft sales. It can benefit from economies of scale and fast-track development by utilising its existing technology platform.

However, DJI has to save cycles for its innovations and improve its original design to adopt the latest technology and gain an edge in the drone industry. As a result, users will have a stable ecosystem, high-quality hardware, and standardised platforms to use.

Like previous years, DJI will continue to dominate the drone market, and its global market share might rise above 74 percent across all price points. DJI has gained a lot in every drone sale category and at all price ranges, software, and add-on payloads. Another recent finding is that the sizes of commercial drone fleet are becoming smaller than before, and that might debunk the hyperbole that drones will continue to clutter the airspace.

Also read: Drone startup Quidich is creating ripples in live sport, aerial filmmaking and government surveillance

Increase of commercial work

More companies are using their drone aircraft for commercial work than before. That will allow companies to scale their experiences to all their clients. As a result, enterprise customers will gain from the added usability and simplicity of the consumer products designed to meet the demands of millions of drone users around the world.

Average pilots will also benefit a lot from the scalability and reliability inherent in the modern drone aircraft. Recent research has revealed that companies around the world have only utilised a portion of what drone can do for them. More government organisations and businesses have just realised how a drone can improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

In 2019, futurists expect more firms to use industrial drones for tracking shipments, monitoring facilities, and perhaps doorstep delivery of groceries. Industrial drone fleet exceeds its current units and generates more income in service and product revenues. It is also expected that government agencies and companies around the world will invest billions of dollars in drone technology in the future.

Some companies have already hired drone-server providers to provide delivery service for them and demand for these service-providers is expected to rise down the road. For example, premier drone providers in the US are already supplying tailored drone solutions to industries such as mapping and surveying, real estate, television and media, insurance assessments, solar panel and building inspections, mining and emergency services.

Also read: Zomato can now deliver your food using drones thanks to new government policy

Embracing big data

Manufacturers of drones are working on systems that can process drone sensors to allow for automatic landing and take-off and avoid collisions. Already, a few devices are using this technology, and drone manufacturers are improving it.

For example, a few drone manufacturers have developed automated drone systems that can fly reliably and repeatedly without the intervention of a pilot. Drone manufacturers are now using drone sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies to apply predictive analytics to various commercial problems.

Some companies are using deep learning techniques and drones to detect cracks in pipes and steel tanks in nuclear power plants. The technology can identify cracks in any steel component based on the changes in texture surrounding it and alert technicians of possible danger. With this technology, processing takes a few seconds, saving time for technicians and allowing them to work efficiently, eliminating the risk of undetected leaks.

Combining machine learning and drone technology has enabled infrastructure and building managers to identify inventory shortages, malfunctions, and defects quickly at a lower cost than before. Companies can achieve all this through radiometric data, thermal imaging, photos, and photos gathered using drones.

Other companies are using autonomous drones to inspect power plants and transmission lines and monitor the conditions of infrastructure in real time. Farmers are also using drone technology to determine crops that need fertilizer and water, identify weeds, and count crops automatically.

To wrap it up, drone technology is evolving to become a powerful tool for government organisations and businesses. Drones have penetrated many industries, and companies are now using them in civil and commercial applications such as farming and firefighting. The interest in drones and aircraft has increased across sectors, and that trend will likely persist in 2019.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)