Commercial drone shipments to top 2.6 million by 2025

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According to a new report from Tractica, a growing interest in using remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, will drive commercial RPA shipments from 80,000 in 2015 to more than 2.6 million annually by 2025.

The market intelligence firm forecasts that annual revenue from commercial drone hardware sales will reach nearly $4 billion in the same timeframe. However, the more significant revenue opportunity will be in commercial drone-enabled services, which Tractica forecasts will grow to $8.7 billion annually by 2025. [Read more…]

Educating the public — and pilots — about RPAs

Justin Newcomb and Lindsey Helland, Micro Drone Vision Creative Director marketing answer questions during SUN 'n FUN.

Can you imagine ordering an aircraft off the Internet, then learning to fly it by trial and error without knowledge of physics, weather or airspace?

That’s what’s happening when people buy Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), also referred to as drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS). These non-commercial RPAs can range in size from under five pounds and about the dimensions as a six pack of soda to ones that weigh more than 50 pounds and are larger than a medium-sized suitcase.

And they are sharing the airspace with full-sized aircraft, often because the owners don’t realize they are breaking the rules. [Read more…]

Sharing the skies with RPAs

DJI's Spreading Wings S-1000 RPA

They fly, so pilots could love Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) [with other terms also used, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and drones.]

Some pilots are already involved with RPAs. However, RPA pilots remain on the ground. Is that the same? Differences have a way of dividing people, even when they may be “birds of a feather.” How do you feel? [Read more…]

Droneport: FAA Approves Test of Drone Power Line Exams

Droneport is reporting the “FAA has approved San Diego Gas & Electric’s test program for the examination of rural power transmission lines with drone-mounted HD cameras.” SDGE will fly sub-one-pound quadcotpers in “four rural test sites 70 miles east of San Diego in the McCain, Valley. The drones replace manned helicopter inspections that cost nearly as much per flight hour as the drone system’s total cost.”

Touch & Go: Perspective matters

I’m excited to see what comes of the future of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. There is a great deal yet to learn, and ways UAV technology will scale up to the benefit of all aerospace. Of that, I have no doubt.

However, there is also much to figure out and, frankly, worry about.

[Read more…]