Commercial Drones Market: Popular Applications

Commercial Drones Market - Inkwood Research

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), have traversed a dramatic path from being a sophisticated military technology to commercial applications. An increasing number of industries are using drones to transform daily work. For instance, insurance companies use drones to inspect damaged assets, while farmers use them to collect soil data and monitor crops. As a result, the surging commercial applications of drones are a key growth driver of the global commercial drones market, expected to register a CAGR of 26.80% during the forecast period, 2022-2030.

In this regard, here are a few popular applications of commercial drones:

  • Aerial Photography and Videography

The most popular application of commercial drones has been aerial photography. Businesses and companies are therefore using drones for aerial videography and photography. Similarly, marketing strategists and real estate agents are using UAVs to offer a detailed look at the property they intend to sell. Integrating aerial drone photography and video can help real estate agents offer a ‘fly-through’ of the property and show different features of the house that are otherwise difficult to view through photos alone.

  • Infrastructure Inspections

Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used for inspection in several industries. For instance, drones are used to inspect and maintain solar panels to ensure their efficient operation. Also, they are used for inspecting aircraft parts, telecommunication towers, utilities, and powerline installations. In addition, the oil industry depends on drones to assess pipelines and associated facilities.

However, the most common uses for unmanned commercial drones are aircraft and pipeline inspections. Trained personnel use drones that move along a predetermined path and capture images further checked for signs of dent or damage. These methods help industries save money and time.

For instance, Airbus displayed the benefits and importance of drone use at the Farnborough Airshow, wherein the drone took only 15 minutes to complete the task while the traditional methods took 2 hours or more. Moreover, drones help improve safety by conducting otherwise dangerous inspections for plant inspectors.

  • Surveying & Mapping

Drones have made two broad survey types more accessible. For instance, land surveys for environmental preservation or agriculture. Drones have made these inspections easy for what once took hours. In addition, with regard to agriculture, they can help look over harvests. More importantly, drones enable access to dangerous areas and aid in avoiding loss of life.

As a result, the use of drones in surveying, geophysical mapping, cartography, photogrammetry, and GIS mapping is on the rise alongside increasing technological advancements. Accordingly, UAVs are efficient for LiDAR 3D mapping, which relies on GPS systems for accuracy. A drone equipped with a GPS eliminates the need for an aircraft with expensive photogrammetry tools.

Another factor in GIS UAV’s growing traction is eco-friendliness. Compared to conventional geophysical mapping methods, drones are non-invasive as they fly through the area collecting photos and organizing data without damaging the environment.

As per Inkwood Research’s evaluations, precision agriculture is the fastest-growing application in the global commercial drones market.

Last Mile Delivery by Drones: Viable Market Potential

Last mile delivery is one of the supply chain’s most expensive and difficult aspects. Every enterprise’s transportation sector is looking for an alternative to save expenses and time on last mile delivery. Accordingly, high-end logistics technology, GPS tracking systems, and route optimization software have helped manage large transportation fleets.

However, there are transportation hurdles like air congestion, high fuel consumption, fuel expenses, and traffic pollution. Drones offer an optimal solution to such hindrances since they are eco-friendly, cost-effective, and easy to deploy, thereby boosting the supply chain’s productivity. Besides, autonomous last mile deliveries are considered a suitable prospect to sustain the surging e-commerce boom.

At the same time, many policies and legal implications exist against using unmanned delivery drones in countries like Japan, the United States, China, India, etc., given the security threats. Nevertheless, policies are being reformed to cater to the increasing demand from e-commerce companies, local retailers, and FMCG industries.

Moreover, companies are increasingly exploring the use of last mile drones to curb delivery costs and improve consumer service. For instance, Amazon demonstrated its first commercial drone delivery in December 2016 to a customer in Cambridge, the UK, within 13 minutes of their online order. Whereas in October 2019, Wing launched America’s first commercial drone delivery service in Virginia. Besides, consumers prefer drone deliveries to in-person deliveries, citing occurrences of human errors like delays, package losses, rejected orders, etc. As a result, the widening commercial applications are among the key growth drivers of the global commercial drones market.

By Akhil Nair


Which are the key players in the global commercial drones market?

AeroVironment Inc, Xiaomi, EHANG, 3D Robotics INSITU, etc., are among the key players in the global commercial drones market.

Which is the prominent product type in the global commercial drones market?

Fixed-wing drones are the prominent product type in the global commercial drones market.