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.
“The two primary application categories in the commercial drone sector are aerial imaging and data analysis,” says managing director Clint Wheelock. “Key industries that will drive the adoption of commercial drones include film, media, agriculture, and oil and gas. Meanwhile, the strong growth in the drone-enabled services market will be driven by applications such as filming and entertainment, mapping, aerial assessments, prospecting, and disaster relief.”
Wheelock adds that, despite the significant interest in utilizing small unmanned aircraft systems as cost-effective tools for aerial photography and data analysis, the industry continues to face significant challenges that will need to be addressed for the sector to truly take off. Key factors include regulatory policy, public perception, safety, and privacy. In particular, regulatory bodies currently lag behind technological advances and market demand is already exerting significant pressure on government agencies to enact policy reform, he noted.
Tractica’s report, “Drones for Commercial Applications,” examines the market trends and technology issues surrounding the commercial drone industry and presents an analysis of the drivers and inhibitors of market development, the regulatory landscape, business models, and supply chain considerations.
The report includes a 10-year forecast for drone hardware unit shipments and revenue, segmented by industry, airframe type, and world region, in addition to drone-enabled services by application area. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.