Have you ever asked yourself how many drones are flying out there right now? If you plan to buy yourself a new drone here are some insights from the industry. These UAV (unmanned air vehicles), as they are also known, are becoming more and more popular and sophisticated.

How many drones are sold right now on the market?

According to BussinesInsider here is the actual situation of the market

  • In 2015 only in the U.S. alone were sold more than 1.1 million drones.
  • In 2016 around 2.2 million drones were sold worldwide. Only in the U.S. this means 2.4 million units. But wait a sec. I just mentioned 2.2 million drones sold worldwide. Where does the difference come from? The Consumer Technology Association includes all the air crafts that weigh less than 250 grams and don’t need to be registered to FAA.
  • The numbers for 2017 are not out there yet. We will bring you the latest updates after the new sales for 2017 are confirmed.

Drone flying regulations worldwide map

What are the future trends?

  • By 2020 the more than 7 million drone will be shipped worldwide. This number is 3 times the amount sold in 2016. While this is only an estimation still the figures can change and the number could be higher than the projected 7 million. Small hobbyist drones are expected to rise from 1.9 million to 4.3 million, while sales of commercial drones could rise from 600,000 to 2.7 million.
  • The global drone market will be worth $120 billion by 2020.  Only in 2020 the drone industry will be worth $13 billion. The market is worth $2 billion today, but thanks to aerial photography and video industry drone will be used more often for creating special effects for Hollywood blockbusters.
  • The largest drone market is the U.S.. Currently 35% of the drone market is controlled by the U.S., followed by Europe with 30% and finishing third place, China with 20%.
  • By 2019 more than 3 million drone could be flying in China. While China is only placed on 3rd place when from market size point of view, by 2019 figures could change. Currently 390.000 drones fly in China, but this number could increase to 3 million according cu IDC’s forecast.

Major players of the industry

According to droneii.com here are the top players of the industry:

Let’s see some information about some known manufacturers.

  • DJI (Dajiang) Innovations remains the leading company in the drone industry. With its headquarters in Shenzhen, China, and offices in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, DJI Innovations is the current leading name in manufacturing civilian drones by capturing an approximately 70% share of the drone market.

  • Yuneec is the world leader in electric aviation. Headquarters are in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China. With offices in North America, Europe and Asia, Yuneec manufactures over 1 million units a year that are sold under OEM/ODM brands. In 2014, Yuneec introduced the world’s first ready-to-fly, out-of-the-box drone. The Typhoon Q500 quadcopter.

  • Parrot a French company, Headquartered in Paris, is a new entrant into the UAV/ quadcopter market, its main specialty is wireless devices for mobile phones and automobiles (i.e. Bluetooth hands free kits). Surprisingly, it has seized a large part of the consumer UAV/ quadcopter market with the AR.Drone and its successor the AR.Drone 2.0 a mid- range hobby drone with integrated FPV system, controlled by a smartphone app.

  • Hubsan is based out of Dong, China and has become well known with its Hubsan X4 models, including the popular entry level Hubsan X4 H107C and the Hubsan H107D FPV X4 Mini RTF Quadcopter.

  • JJRC (JJRC Toy Co. Ltd) is another Chinese toy manufacturer making robots, toy guns and remote-controlled vehicles of all types. They really have a very extensive collection of toys, the majority are remote-controlled kid and hobby drones.

  • Syma Toys is located in Shantou, China. This drone maker is best known for its remote controlled helicopters, though they have recently broken into the drone market with the highly popular X5C. The Upgraded version X5C-1 Explorer is one of Amazons best selling quadcopters. Other popular models include the small Syma X11 mini-quadcopter and the Syma X5SW Plus Quadcopter Drone with WiFi FPV Camera.

Most important industries where drone are important

According to inc.com here are the top industries where drones will play a crucial role:

  • Agriculture
    In a sector known as precision agriculture, drones can create optimal planting schemes, monitor crops, and apply precise amounts of pesticides and herbicides. The eBee SQ, from Swiss manufacturer SenseFly, captures crop data across four multispectral bands, plus color imagery. Farmers plug the data into their existing management systems.
  • Disaster assessment and insurance claims
    Allstate Insurance recently used two drone companies, EagleView Technologies and Kespry, to test-inspect roofs in Texas for hail damage, which could improve the speed and efficiency of claim resolutions. Drones have already been deployed in Haiti and other countries to survey scenes of earthquakes and other natural disasters and help rescue missions deliver aid.
  • Economic development
    The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council identifies the unmanned aerial systems industry as a job creator, estimating that 1,300 positions could be gained in R&D, manufacturing, and other drone businesses. The council is funding up to $250 million in drone projects through 2020.
  • Public safety
    Drones made by L-3 Unmanned Systems are being used to survey hazmat disasters safely. Other drones are fighting wildfires. 1st Rescue is developing a rapid response telemedicine system; along with delivering a medical kit with an automated external defibrillator, it will integrate a two-way video connection and biotelemetry software. In Rwanda, Silicon Valley-based Zipline has delivered blood products to hospitals and health centers using winged drones.
  • Construction and real estate
    Construction firms can track progress and assets and examine joints and welds. A gravel supplier, say, could use Kespry to measure stockpiles, manage inventory, lay out new pits, and survey quarry locations. Once things are built, the real estate industry sees drones creating detailed video of commercial and residential properties for sale. If only they washed windows, too.
  • Geomapping
    PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, North Carolina, drone maker focused on mapping and analytics, is also researching broader parameters. The company wants to expand drone technology to deliver intelligence across a range of industries. It has created aerial data software called DataMapper; acquired drone image provider TerraServer; and launched Latas, a low-altitude traffic and airspace safety platform for drones.
  • Media and entertainment
    The first FAA exemptions for commercial use were given to film producers to capture aerial footage without costly heli­copters. The Belgian-based Flying-Cam, an early innovator, has received two Oscars, including the Scientific and Engineering Award for the Flying-Cam Sarah 3.0 used in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall. As costs have fallen, advertising agencies have gotten into the game. Soccer and football teams are using drones for tactical analysis.
  • Energy
    DroneDeploy, a drone software developer, is a partner in a program designed to increase the efficiency of solar panel installations and inspection through drone-based thermal imagery capture and analytics. The use of onboard thermal imagery helps ensure that equipment is positioned for maximal production.

Final words

It is clear to everyone. Whether we like it or not, drones will become part of our life. Just like our smartphones they will be an important tool in any sector. Is it a dead industry? Certainly not. There are major improvements that can be done and for the moment the industry is in its baby foot steps. By 2020 the industry will get mature enough to have an important place in our life.

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