According to recent studies and statistics, unmanned aerial systems (or drones) promise to have the most dynamic growth of any sector in the aerospace industry. With the ease of airspace regulations and operational limitations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (for the most part), the flood of investments, and the introduction of new drone services and technology, the stage is set for very rapid growth. The Teal Group, an aerospace and defense market analysis firm in Fairfax, Virginia, said in its recent report that over the next ten years drone production (for non-military purposes) will total $73.5 billon, rising from a $2.8 billion worldwide market in 2017. This will include the production of commercial, consumer and civil government systems. Specifically, commercial use will be the fastest growing segment, growing from $512 million in 2017 to $6.5 billion over the next ten years. Companies in traditional aerospace, data analysis, semi-conductors, and telecommunications are all jumping into this market.
Even technology companies have poured over $1 billion in to investments in drone startups over the last few years. The Teal Group says that the construction industry will lead the commercial drone market, and agriculture will rank second worldwide over the next decade. And as the technology gets better, low-cost, high-altitude, long endurance drones will hit the skies promising to create an entirely new segment of the market – drones to bring the Internet to areas of the world currently without any service. Lastly, according to this new report, energy, general photography (e.g. for real estate marketing) and insurance, will also become important commercial segments of the drone industry. The sky’s the limit.