Global unmanned aerial vehicle industry is anticipated to see a high growth on account of its increasing application in military, surveillance, and commercial activities. The market is projected to grow at an approximate CAGR of 10 % from 2016 to 2024.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) also sometimes referred as drones are used as aircraft systems without a human pilot aboard. They are often employed in missions which are dangerous for manned aircraft.
The autonomy is either given by remote control from an operator on ground or board computers. Military applications accounted for a significant share of the global application market. Increasing defense expenditure has triggered the usage of these devices.
Such instruments form an important component of modern warfare. The advantage of using such devices during wars is to avoid humiliation in case the aircraft is shot down, and the pilot is captured.
Some devices have the capability to carry missiles and hit the target with high accuracy. Drones are also used in surveillance and rescue operations. Aircraft with smaller dimensions have been used to gather information about hostile places before a mission.
They have been employed in rescue operations to find out the location of hostages. Extensive drones use in peacekeeping mission’s further driving the global demand over the forecast period. These devices are convenient to supply necessities including food and water in areas affected by natural calamities including floods and earthquakes.
Their usage to provide extensive information for disaster relief is expected to propel the overall market growth. Commercial purpose usage is another important factor which has been contributing to the overall industry demand.
It is easier to take a top view and get closer to the characters. Traditionally helicopters were used in filmmaking to cover the top view which incurs high costs. Motion picture cinematography can reduce their expenditures by making use of this aircraft type.
Implementation of modern agriculture methods is expected to propel the market in near future. UAV’s are used for crop spraying, monitoring livestock, crops and water levels. Sophisticated UAV provide a 3D field image which is helpful in planning for future expansion.
Research is being done whether these devices can be ethically used for transporting cargo. In 2013, a small research project was conducted to deliver medicines using UAV by DHL. Amazon, a U.S based e-commerce company showed interest in the delivery of goods using UAV technology.
Government regulations act as a major barrier to the global industrial growth. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. monitors the device usage for commercial purposes. It is mandatory to obtain a licence and follow the flying rules & regulations for the proper air traffic functioning.
Failure in following the law leads to civil penalties. Ethical concerns related to the UAVs usage offer stiff challenges to the industry. There have been some concerns over allowing a robot to take its own decisions.
Its use in warfare is considered asymmetrical and unethical by some nations. These devices also pose a threat from UAVs release of kinetic energy during crashes. The UAVs application is expanding in multiple industries including oil and gas sector are geographical surveys and oil well monitoring is being undertaken with the help of these instruments in the field of oil, gas and mineral exploration.
Government initiatives to encourage drone usage for well-being are expected to propel the research and development initiatives in this sector. In 2014, UAE government announced an annual competition named as UAE drones in order to encourage positive technology applications.
Global industry segmentation is done on the basis of its size which includes micro, miniature, and heavy UAVs. Depending on the size, these drones are used for necessary applications. Micro vehicles are less than one kilogram and are mostly used by hobbyists.
Miniature vehicles weigh less than 20 kilograms are mostly used for industrial and commercial purposes. Those with a weight more than 20 kilograms are categorised as heavy UAVs and find their applications in military and defence sector.
North America has the highest demand on account of major applications in military and defence sector. The provincial dominance is expected to last over the forecast period owing to its use in municipal welfare.
Regional demand was followed by Europe mainly on account of military applications and modern farming applied in the most parts of the region. Asia Pacific has shown a significant growth on account of expanding product application in commercial areas mainly in the field of filmmaking.
Emerging economies including China and South Korea have implemented surveillance system with the help of UAVs. South America and Africa are anticipated to witness a slow growth owing to the low concentration of application industries.
Key players in the global market include Boeing, BAE Systems, PLC, DJI, Elbit Systems, General Atomics, Israel Aerospace Industries, Northrop Grumman, Textron, AeroVironment and Lockheed Martin Corporation.
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