The commercial drone market is booming. While estimates certainly vary, many research firms say that the worldwide market value will rise from $2 billion today to over $10 billion within the next 10 years. Similar to the GPS and Internet boom, drones are evolving beyond their military origin to become powerful business tools.
Goldman Sachs estimates that businesses and government will spend $13 billion on drones between now and 2020. And PricewaterhouseCoopers says that the effect of drone technologies on business models like that of the information technology revolution of the 1980s. It was in the 1980s when companies re-engineered their operations to transform the modern economy. TealGroup also points out that the production of non-military drones will jump from $2.6 billion today to $10.9 billion in 2025. Overall, this market could grow from $1.3 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion in 2021.
However, drones in the commercial industry face some hurdles–safety, privacy, and insurance coverage. But assuming that those hurdles are cleared, analysts say that drones will be most highly utilized in the construction, agriculture, insurance, energy, infrastructure inspection, security, mining, turnkey services, telecommunications, real estate and package delivery. Beyond that, many other industries will be revolutionized by drones. Drones can do jobs faster, safer and less expensively. The big move that must happen before we will see an increase in drone use in these industries is regulatory changes–most importantly beyond visual line of sight operations. And that’s where the Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management network (which is currently being developed by NASA) will come into play. For now, we know the number of drones in the sky will increase and the dollars behind those drones will exponentially grow.