In this day and age of advanced technological advancements and cut-throat competition, curiosity and survival instinct is the mother of all inventions.
Drones, also known as, UAVs came into existence for the sole purpose of reaching and traversing areas where it was arduous for man to maneuver.
With time, demand, and further progressions, drones began to be used for a variety of purposes, and newer models, sizes and prototypes were manufactured and produced.
In this article, BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, answers questions surrounding UAVs, their uses, manufacturers, and current industry trends and market breakdowns.
What is a UAV?
A UAV or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a miniature pilotless aircraft, which is either controlled by a remote or an app and uses aerodynamic forces to navigate and perform desired functions.
They are used to carry small payloads, perform delivery and minor services, carry video and static cameras for photography and videography, and perform commercial and military inspections and operations.
Rise of Drones (Segments/Market Trends/Forecasts)
BI Intelligence defines drones as aerial vehicles that can fly autonomously or be piloted by a remote individual. Under that criterion, BI Intelligence expects sales of drones to surpass $12 billion in 2021, which is up by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6% from $8.5 billion in 2016.
This growth will occur across the three main segments of the drone industry:
- Consumer Drone shipments will hit 29 million, a CAGR of 31.3% by 2021.
- Enterprise Drones (also known as Commercial Drones) shipments will reach 805,000 in 2021, a CAGR of 51%.
- Government Drones: The Department of Defense allocated a budget of $2.9 billion in 2016 for more than 50 new drones for combat and surveillance, according to the Bard Center for the Study of Drones.
Who Are The Top Commercial UAV Manufacturers?
The nascent drone industry took a big step forward in 2015 as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted hundreds of new exemptions for companies to operate drones in the US. Those exemptions included many new use cases in a variety of industries including insurance, construction, and agriculture, all of which demonstrate the broad range of commercial applications for drones. In this article, BI Intelligence has covered some of the most recognized and famed global drone makers.
It includes both established and startup companies, giving you a nutshell overview of the diverse, trending, and explosive industry of drones.
Below is a list of public and private companies that are the current biggest players in the dynamic commercial-use drone industry.
DJI (Dajiang) Innovations (Privately held)
With its headquarters in Shenzhen, China, and offices in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, DJI Innovations is the current leading name in manufacturing civilian drones by capturing an approximately 70% share of the drone market.
Their Phantom series is popular worldwide amongst professionals and hobbyists for its wireless technology and services such as GPS First Person viewing.
Zero Zero Robotics (Privately held)
This Chinese-based drone manufacturer builds consumer-friendly robots and is known for its $500 Hover Camera Passport drone, which is the first Embedded Artificial Intelligence powered mass-consumer flying camera of its kind. It is a lightweight drone specifically designed for taking selfies, and is sold exclusively by Apple via both its online and physical retail stores.
The latest news buzzing around the world of Zero Zero Robotics is that Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, is reportedly in talks to acquire the Chinese drone manufacturer for between $150 and $200 million, according to CNBC.
3D Robotics (Privately held)
Based out of Berkeley, California, 3D Robotics focuses mostly on autonomous drones (like its drone SOLO) with GPS point planning, otherwise known as a smart drone. The company focuses on products for everyday exploration and business applications, as well as aerial photography.
3D Robotics claims to be the smartest and most technologically advanced drone company in the world. 3D Robotics developed the first true “Follow Me” technology in the drone industry through which drones can stay right with you wherever you go, automatically keeping the camera centered on you to capture your every move.
Yuneec (Privately held)
Headquartered in Kunshan Jiangsu, China, Yuneec is the world leader in electric aviation. In 2014, Yuneec introduced the world’s first ready-to-fly, out-of-the-box drone: The Typhoon Q500 quadcopter, This made the company and its products very popular amongst professionals and hobbyists.
DJI Innovations and Yuneec collectively are known as the Apple and Samsung of the drone world, and have been in a few public tech battles and legal proceedings.
Parrot SA (EPA: PARRO)
Parrot, headquartered in Paris, is a new entrant into the UAV/quadcopter market.
In a short amount of time, Parrot has seized a large part of the commercial and civil UAV/quadcopter market with the AR.Drone and its successor the AR.Drone 2.0, a mid- range hobby drone with integrated FPV system controlled by a smartphone app.
Hubsan (Privately held)
Set up in 2010 in China, Hubsan manufactures drones used by hobbyist and commercial photography. It is also the maker of the world’s smallest drone, Nano Q4 wit a flying weight of only 11.5 grams.
For a more extensive list, UAV Global lists almost 450 manufacturers from around the world, along with their country, region and links to their respective websites.
More to Learn
The drone mega-trend is here to stay and evolve. Almost every industry and field will be impacted by the presence and usage of drones in one way or the other in the coming future. That is why BI Intelligence has spent months compiling the greatest and most detailed collection on drone technology called The Drones Report: Market Forecasts, key players and use cases, and regulatory barriers to the proliferation of drones.
You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.