LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio’s latest global commercial-purpose drones market 2016-2020 report highlights the top three emerging trends predicted to impact the market growth through 2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as something that has potential for significant impact on the market and contributes to its growth or decline.
“Key findings of our research study indicate, emergence of nano drones will fuel the global commercial-purpose drones market until 2020. These drones can be as small as the size of a palm or a fingernail. Nano drones have a low cost of production, operation, and maintenance. For an hour of flight, a nano drone costs about USD 25, compared to thousands of dollars that are required to fly a larger traditional drone,” said Technavio’s senior industry analyst for computing devices, Sunil Kumar Singh.
“Drones find a broad range of applications such as telecommunications, maritime monitoring, weather forecasting, transportation, search and rescue, and oil and gas exploration. However, the agriculture sector is expected to benefit the most from the use of drones. About 80% of the sector's growth over the next four years is predicted to come from precision farming techniques, and much of it is anticipated to be achieved through the deployment of these drones,” added Sunil.
Technavio’s market research study identifies the following top three emerging trends for the global commercial-purpose drones market:
- Growing capital funding for drone technology
- Use of drones in advertising
- Rapid technological advances
Growing capital funding for drone technology
To enable large-scale use of drones, many vendors are raising funds for drone manufacturers that are in need of capital. They believe that this funding will help manufacturers develop drones which perform tasks that were earlier considered dangerous, costly, and difficult. They also want drones to be used in applications yet to be imagined.
Airware, a provider of drone software, hardware, and cloud services, launched the Commercial Drone Fund, to support the most promising commercial drone businesses around the world. France-based Redbird and UK-based Sky-Futures were the first drone firms to receive money from this fund. The Commercial Drone Fund is expected to invest between USD 250,000 and USD 1 million in more than 10 start-ups by the year 2018. They focus on sensor hardware, software applications, cloud-based aerial data analysis tools, drone-based services, and complete solutions for specific industries.
DJI, the world’s largest builder of drones, separately invested in a fund worth USD 10 million with Accel Partners of California, US. The initiative, called SkyFund, is floated to support hardware and software entrepreneurs who use DJI infrastructure to build applications.
3D Robotics, Airware, Skycatch, PrecisionHawk, Sunlight Photonics, Kespry, DroneDeploy, Skydio, Vires Aeronautics, and Skyworks Aerial Systems are some start-ups that have received venture capital in recent times. It is anticipated that vendors will invest close to USD 180 million in the commercial-purpose drones market until 2016.
Use of drones in advertising
With advances in drone technology and governments relaxing laws related to drones, advertising agencies worldwide have started experimenting with possibilities of drone advertising. They are developing drones that can fly billboards and drop promotional articles such as t-shirts, etc. US-based Dronecast is one such advertising agency that specializes in drone advertising. They promote products through banners hung from drones. They also hang speakers from their drones to play music and promotional messages.
Coca-Cola teamed up with the non-profit organization Singapore Kindness Movement to deliver care packages via drones to Singapore's neglected migrant construction workers. The care packages had photos of Singapore citizens holding signs thanking laborers for building their city along with cans of Coca-Cola.
Separately, in Russia, noodle shop chain Wokker used drones to advertise the shop's lunch specials to workers. The promotion is claimed to have increased the company's sales by 40%. Market vendors are expected to innovate with many more similar initiatives during the forecast period.
Rapid technological advances
OEMs in the global commercial-purpose drones market are continually adding new features to their products, and launching innovative products in the market. Performance and application of commercial drones are constantly increasing with these advances, which provides substantial cost, energy, and space-saving opportunities to end-users, compared to alternative methods that are labor intensive. With advances in technologies, commercial drones are becoming stronger, lighter, more powerful, and more energy-efficient. For instance, researchers at HRL Laboratories are utilizing a self-propagating photopolymer waveguide process to form ultra-thin sandwich structures. These are micro-unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as micro-UAVs), which are drones equipped with cameras that can capture and shoot 4K content.
Drones with an extended battery life that can work underwater are also being developed. British energy tech company Intelligent Energy is expected to reveal a drone powered by hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid battery systems. Even the most expensive consumer drones that are priced at more than USD 1,400 struggle to stay in the air for over 20 minutes and the batteries sometimes take more than an hour to recharge. However, with hydrogen fuel cells, drones are expected to gain additional capability to fly for hours at a time. Therefore, with such rapid advances in technology, the market is predicted to witness a boom in the years to come.
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