A new report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) finds that research and innovation are driving increased unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations for the academic, civil, commercial, consumer, and military markets.
The report, “Global Trends of Unmanned Aerial Systems,” analyzed data from AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems and Robotics Database, with researching finding that 80% of patents associated with UAS technologies have been published since 2016, demonstrating the exponential growth of the unmanned systems industry.
“It is an exciting time for the UAS industry, which is reflected in the sheer number of new technologies entering the market,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “In order to harness this innovation and help keep the U.S. competitive as the global UAS market continues to emerge, we need a streamlined regulatory environment that allows for expanded operations and would enable even more transformative uses of this technology.”
“The global growth in UAS technologies is remarkable and paints a picture of technology developers, investors, and governments with great confidence in a solid and growing UAS commercial market in the years to come,” said Stig Yding Sørensen, Senior Specialist at Danish Technological Institute. “Civilian use of UAS is still in the early stages, and flight times, operational range, safety, operating systems, load capacity, etc., can still be improved. European legislation is being adapted on a regular basis, but will inevitably lag behind technological developments.”
Findings in the report, which provides a snapshot of the capabilities and technological specifications of UAS, include:
- Nearly 80% of the 2,185 platforms analyzed are used in the civil market, while 65% are used for commercial purposes.
- The United States leads the way in developing UAS platforms (628 unique models), followed by China (309) and France (114).
- Roughly half of the platforms analyzed can be used for precision agriculture purposes, such as monitoring crop health and irrigation.
- Nearly 1,350 of the platforms analyzed can assist in search and rescue operations after natural disasters. These platforms have greater than average speed and endurance capabilities to help improve the success of their searches for survivors, according to officials.
“The development of UAS platforms is crucial, but the huge commercial value lies in their integration with other advanced technologies,” added Sørensen. “A camera is still the most common piece of equipment and is used by photographers and others to record films and take photos. However, it is integration with smart technologies, such as sensors, connection to the internet, use of artificial intelligence and managing tools, that can create serious value. It gives new perspectives for almost all parts of trade and industry.”