UAS production forecast to increase from $4.4 billion worldwide in 2018 to $13.1 billion in 2027

Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are attracting record levels of venture capital and promise to be the aerospace sector’s most dynamic growth sector this decade, according to a report by Teal Group.

The aerospace and defence market analysis company’s 2018 World Civil UAS Market Profile and Forecast projects that non-military UAS production will total $88.3 billion in the next decade, soaring from $4.4 billion worldwide in 2018 to $13.1 billion in 2027, a 12.9 per cent compound annual growth rate. The forecast includes commercial, consumer and civil government systems. Teal Group provides support for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the preparation of its commercial UAS forecast.

‘Explosive growth’ in civil UAS market

“The groundwork is being laid for explosive growth in the civil UAS market,” said Philip Finnegan, Teal Group’s director of corporate analysis and author of the study. “The prospect for strong growth as airspace opens is attracting record levels of investment and the involvement of technology giants. New hardware, software and services are enabling businesses to begin to incorporate unmanned systems in their operations.”

Commercial use will surpass the consumer drone market in 2024, becoming the largest segment of the civil market. It will grow eightfold over the decade to reach $7.3 billion in 2027. Finnegan added: “The growing promise of the civil market is attracting the world’s leading technology companies, driving ever faster development of systems and business applications. As potential corporate clients move from proof of concept work to deployment of fleets, the market will soar.”

Firms in traditional aerospace, data analysis, semiconductors, telecommunications are all moving aggressively towards the civil market. Technology companies including Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Apple as well as venture capitalists poured a record level of more than $500 million into startup investments in 2017 and more than $2 billion since 2012.

US startups receive 76 per cent of funding

US startups have received 76 per cent of the funding, enabling them to take the lead in development of drone analytics. Chinese firms, which have received 4 per cent of the investment, are focusing on continuing their lead in hardware, moving from consumer to commercial systems.

While funding still exists for new drones focused on specialised markets, venture capital funding is increasingly shifting from hardware to software and services which will make drones more useful. Funding is also being used to develop the scale needed to serve large corporations.

Construction to lead commercial UAS market

As a market segment, construction will lead the commercial UAS market over the next decade. All 10 of the largest worldwide construction firms are deploying or experimenting with systems and will be able to quickly deploy fleets worldwide.

Agriculture, the most mature commercial market as a result of Japan’s use of high value spraying UAVs for decades, will grow more slowly than other sectors. Despite tremendous potential for use of drones in this sector, it will still rank second.

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