The global drone ecosystem has expanded rapidly in the last few years.Drone are currently the most dynamic growth sector within aviation and emerging tech, and investors are eager to understand the direction the drone market will take in 2017.

On examining different business reports, here’s a summary of various predictions all telling a similar story. Growth is expected in the following areas:

  1. Global sales and shipment
  2. Expanded industry adoption
  3. Software and ecosystem integration

In FAA’s annual Aerospace Forecast Report (2016-2036), we are expected to see a sustained growth in the use and adoption of drones in the coming year. Combined total hobbyist and commercial UAV sales are expected to jump from 2.5 million in 2016 to 4.8 million in 2017. The expected revenue from consumer drone shipments is expected to up from USD 2.3 to 2.7 billion in 2017.

Now that FAA regulations provide more flexibility for drone operations, manufacturers can successfully focus on building systems optimized for particular segments of the market. Goldman Sachs reports that the fastest growth opportunity comes from businesses and civil governments, with an expected spending of USD 13 billion on drones between now and 2020.

Business Insider explains, “a growing ecosystem of drone software and hardware vendors is already catering to a long list of clients in agriculture, land management, energy and construction.” It predicts that the growth in the enterprise sector will overtake the consumer sector in both shipments and revenues.

The approximate distribution of the top five commercial drone markets in 2017 include inspection/construction (50%), agriculture (25%), civil/local governments (police, fire, coast guard) (12%), insurance claims (6%) and offshore oil/gas and refining (5%).

With the advanced and autonomous building features such geo-fencing and collision avoidance, businesses and government officials are accepting the integration of drone technology into their services more readily. With this evolution, the importance of data analytics in accelerating and adding value to businesses has risen. Thus 2017 will see a continuing growth of partnerships between dominant drone companies DJI, Parrot SA and Intel Corporation and corporate companies like Autodesk, Movidius and Facebook.

DroneII comments, “initially partnerships were heavy on hardware but the demand to deliver high-quality end-to-end products more quickly and at lower costs has become a fundamental part of the entire drone industry.” Software solutions based companies like Droneshield or Dedrone are expected to gain more footprint in the market.

The takeaway from these reports is that with the evolution of more viable regulations, businesses readiness and government acceptance, they can now fully tap into the safety, efficiency and cost benefits of drone technology. 2017 will see much of the economic potential come to fruition as the drone ecosystem continues to expand into a USD 100 billion market.

 

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