Over the past 20 years, drones have evolved from basic hobbyist toys to complex internet of things (IoT) devices.
Market research firm IoT Analytics’ inaugural market report on drones highlights ongoing investment and consolidation of the commercial and private market, which is forecast to grow at 20.5% per year from 2019 to 2024.
Annual spending on drone-related hardware, software, and services is expected to surpass the $43.1 billion by the end of the forecast period.
“As more and more advanced IoT technology is being integrated into drones it is possible to have drones constantly connected and streaming data in real-time for instant analysis and decision making,” IoT Analytics said in a news release.
Moreover, 5G technology, with its high data rate and low latency, is expected to be a key driver for the drone market as it is expected to enable instant insights from the drones’ measurements in real-time due to the technology’s high data rate and low latency.
The report noted that today’s drones have added onboard intelligence for real-time remote control, video streaming, environment sensing capabilities, and automatic self-landing, according to IoT Analytics.
“While in the 1990s, drones had no specific intelligence and uplink connectivity only, drones have nowadays become intelligent “IoT devices” that are constantly connected (via RF or 4G),” it said.
Today’s drones also cover a large number of IoT applications such as mapping, surveying, inspection, monitoring, photography & filming, and delivery of goods.multi-rotor drones equipped with sensors are being deployed in mines and quarries for underground gas detection.
The drones are also used to sense gas composition and density for improved workplace safety and shortening waiting times after blasts.
According to IoT Analytics, the numbers cited in the report are based on the drone-related revenue of the leading companies in the field, across 15 industry segments.
“Drones are a really hot technology area right now, which is often underestimated and not widely covered. Many people only take notice of drones as a hobbyist toy, or they hear about Amazon planning to use drones for order fulfillment. What they don’t realize is that commercial drones have become a billion dollar market in recent years in industries like energy, construction, and agriculture,” said IoT Analytics Managing Director Knud Lasse Lueth.
“Operators of wind farms, for example, are seeing a step-change improvement in costs and service level when using drones for remote inspection. We expect to see a myriad of drone success stories in the coming years, driven by new drone intelligence and more favorable regulation,” he added.