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2019 Drone Industry Trends and Companies to Watch




Identify Projects & Get Qualified MeetingsDrones are now gaining popularity for consumer, commercial, and civil government use. More affordable and sophisticated than ever before, they present many applications across industries, such as construction, cinematography, agriculture, and firefighting. A December 2017 McKinsey & Company study illustrates the dramatic commercial growth of the U.S. drone industry, from a mere $40 million in 2012 to well north of a billion dollars in 2017. Some 300 companies – including such aviation and aerospace giants as GE, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman– are making substantial investments of time and resources in drones. By 2026, McKinsey estimates that “commercial drones – both corporate and consumer applications – will have an annual impact of $31 billion to $46 billion on US Gross Domestic Product with the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs While it’s impossible to track each and every drone company in such a fast-moving industry, we’ve done our best to highlight the 40 hardware manufacturers to keep an eye on.

  1. DJI; China
  2. Parrot; France
  3. Yuneec; China
  4. Kespry;  California
  5. Autel Robotics; Washington
  6. Insitu; Washington
  7. Delair; France
  8. Ehang; China
  9. Aeryon; Canada
  10. CyPhy; Massachusetts
  11. Aerialtronics; Netherlands
  12. Freefly; Washington
  13. Flyability; Switzerland
  14. Dragonfly; Canada
  15. Action Drone USA; California
  16. GoPro; California
  17. Intel; California
  18. Ambarella; California
  19. Flir; Oregon
  20. Workswell; Czech Republic
  1. UDI R/C; China
  2. Ubsan; China
  3. Syma; China
  4. Sky Viper; California
  5. Blade; Illinois
  6. Aguadrone; California
  7. Embention; Spain
  8. Force 1
  9. Gryphon Dynamics; S. Korea
  10. Gryphon Sensors; New York
  11. Fat Shark
  12. BFD Systems
  13. Atlas Dynamics
  14. SIC Drone
  15. Tuffwing
  16. Airspace
  17. Aptonomy
  18. SkySpecs
  19. Dedrone
  20. Search Systems

Top 10 Trends That Will Shape The Drone Industry In 2019 2019 will be a big year for the drone industry so we’ve put together the following 9 trends to look out for over the next year:

  1. Expanded business use will drive growth: Adoption of aerial drones and drone technology will not be as widespread as some might expect. Instead, it will grow in select industries like agriculture, construction, insurance, mining and aggregates, public safety and first responders, oil & gas, survey engineering, telecommunications and utilities. Expect to see reports about companies expanding their teams and adding use cases that take advantage of the waivers allowing limited beyond visual line of sight operations.
  2. Growth Will be Steady: The number of certified remote pilots is the benchmark for commercial drone industry growth. That’s because, almost uniformly around the world, regulations demand each drone operation have one pilot. Last year, the number of FAA-certified remote pilots grew about 50% over the previous year, to approximately 115,000.
  3. Vendor consolidation and Increased M&A: With the consumer business already dominated by a few major players, expect more consolidation in the commercial space via significant M&As. Consolidation will also result in some companies getting squeezed out: A few companies fighting for market share will become de facto standards while the rest fall to the wayside.
  4. Public distrust and civil liability: Despite the benefits of commercial drone use, the general public still has concerns about drones with regards to safety, security, privacy and public nuisance. After the Gatwick debacle,expect more headlines in 2019 of unauthorized drone sightings.
  5. Drone ID: It is widely anticipated that the FAA will make remote identification of all drones flying in the US mandatory. Whether the proposal takes the shape of legislation or not still remains to be seen. Whatever the outcome of the official deliberations, Drone ID would be crucial for Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) to see the light of the day. UTM would help dispel some of the skepticism about drones, make people feel more secure and confident about drones and act as an enabler for futuristic projects like drone taxis and a network of drone package delivery.
  6. DJI’s continued dominance: SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. (a.k.a. DJI), a Chinese company, continues to dominate the market and has made gains this year in every product category. DJI products represent 74% global market share of drone aircraft purchases. Much of DJI’s dominance can be attributed to its aggressive product development, technological advancements and partner development in the enterprise channel. Their dominance will likely continue given their strategic investment with Hasselblad, their recent investment in an R&D facility in Palo Alto, California, and their partners in the enterprise space such as Microsoft.
  7. AI advancements and Autonomous Drones: AI, Virtual Reality and LiDAR sensors are some of the technologies that will transform the drone industry. Today, drones are controlled by human operators. However, autonomous flight via predictive or prescriptive analytics would render drone pilots unnecessary, making drones even more economical. According to an Interact Analysis report, more than 12,000 fully autonomous drones will be shipped by 2022.
  8. Insurance Will Rise to the Forefront for Commercial Operators: The growth and scope of commercial use cases has led to greater awareness around risk factors and this, coupled with companies’ general risk management procedures, means that any commercial operator who wants to be able to fulfill a variety of commercial contracts will need proper insurance. It’ll become standard practice for high-end commercial operators to have significant limits of insurance to fulfill contracts.
  9. Swarm Intelligence Will Allow Multiple Drones to Collaborate: Swarm intelligence leverages AI to plan the activities of hundreds if not thousands of robots, allowing drones to collectively achieve larger, more complex tasks. We are nearing a time when robots can “think” and train each other without humans. As such, groups of drones will cover sprawling geographic locations and carry out specialized tasks at the same time.

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