The market is expected to record a CAGR of 10.XX%, during 2017-2022 (the forecast period) and reach USD XX billion by 2022. The larger unmanned aerial vehicles such as HALE, MALE - are used largely by the military in combat operations, which require aerial vehicles to have a long range. Their advantages are limited in short-range and extremely covert operations, as the larger UAVs have a bigger heat signature. Moreover, because of their very high acquisition cost, it is not viable for the civil sector to buy them. The FlyAway cost of a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone is around USD 17 million, whereas a small drone can be bought for as low as USD 3000.
Small UAVs find increasing applications in surveying, aerial photography, 3D mapping, oil & gas pipeline monitoring and similar infrastructure inspection, and real estate surveys. The use of small UAVs for delivery of e-commerce products is one such promising commercial application. Trials are already underway for e-commerce giant Amazon’s prime air delivery, wherein the product is delivered to the customer’s doorstep within 30 minutes of placing the order using small UAVs. Another such commercial use of drones is in aerial photography with products like Gopro’s Karma drone. The GoPro Karma features video stabilization in the air and on the ground. Similar ventures suggest that there is a wider commercial appeal to small UAVs than ever before.
Due to these growing applications in the commercial sector, the share of the civil and commercial sector will increase during 2017-2022 (the forecast period) and register a stronger growth rate than the military sector.
The market is segmented by:
The fixed wing small UAVs have had better market penetration than the rotary wing and the nano UAV. But the rotary wing UAV has had a considerable increase in applications, both in the commercial and the military sector. The rotary wing UAVs can take off and land anywhere which gives them greater operational flexibility.
Despite falling defence expenditure, United States will continue to maintain its lead as the biggest market for small UAVs. North American along with the Asia-Pacific region will register strong growth rate in the forecast period.
AeroVironment, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Parrot are some of the important players in the small UAV market covered in this market report.