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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Skylogic’s 2018 Drone Market Sector Summary Report Offers Timely Research and Analytics on the Industry

November 15th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Colin Snow of Skylogic, LLC, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the company’s 2018 Drone Market Sector Summary Report that was recently published. This is the third annual report published by the company.

2018 Drone Market Sector Report

Here is an excerpt from that report:

“Our survey finds the most popular models are the Phantom 4 Series (29%) and Mavic Pro Series (26%). To put this in perspective, the combined purchases of just these two most popular DJI models constitute a 43% market share of all multirotor purchases worldwide.

Our data also shows that DJI dominates the drone aircraft add-on payload market. Their Zenmuse brand RGB camera / sensor / gimbal combinations now account for nearly a third (31%) of all purchases. This is a big increase from last year, when this brand represented only 4% of all add-on purchases. We attribute this to the increased sales of their enterprise line of aircraft, which are designed to accommodate swappable Zenmuse payloads.”

Figure 1: 2,524 Respondents by Country or Region

The data shows 75% of respondents for the survey were from the U.S., 10% from European countries, 4% from Canada, 3% from Australia and New Zealand, and 2% from Central and South America.

The research offers insights and analysis about:

  • Who’s buying what types of drones from which makers at what prices and for what uses.
  • How large the drone-based service providers are, and how they position themselves to their target industries.
  • Who the business users of drone-based projects are, and which industries have traction.
  • How much service providers, business users, and public agencies are using flight management, mission planning, and image processing software for drone-based projects.

The report provides the first comprehensive view of:

  • Critical industry drivers
  • Vendor and service provider market shares
  • Business adoption trends and issues

The report can be purchased at 2018 Drone Market Sector Report Purchase

How would you say industry has changed over three years?

It’s changed in lots of ways but not in other ways. The industries we see that are interested in adopting drone programs are changing in their nature. One of the things we were able to find out this year, is to what extent are businesses and enterprises using drone programs, how much are they and how big are they? Drones are still new. Most programs are only two – three years old, and they’re relatively small, and small in the number of pilots they employ and the number of employees and managers and contractors that are involved. They are still new, fleet sizes are small, they’re a lot smaller than most people think. But it is growing. The growing is incremental, not hockey stick. When the drone industry arrived on the scene in 2014-2015 we’d see this huge spike in business adoption, the truth is it’s been more incremental.

On the service provider side, there seemed to be a bit of a surge when Part 107 happened. There were a lot of people signed up to be Part 107 pilots. The majority of those wanted to become service providers. There already were some service providers under Section 333, maybe about 3300 to 5,000 companies that were acting as service providers. Now after Part 107 we have over 100,000 pilots. A lot of people came in new. We expected that because the barrier was lowered, the change from 333 to Part 107 the hurdle was a lot lower for people to get into the business. So all they needed was a pilot’s license, a website and a drone and they’d be able to provide a service.

In the early surveys, there are people coming in at that bottom level, but they’re not making any money. Most of them make less than $50,000, but some of them have been in business two or three years now and are starting to make money. But there is still a barrier and still people coming in.

That’s the big change we’ve seen in the past two-three years. The thing that hasn’t changed, the survey, mapping and GIS firms have been adopting drones and using them in their toolkits with pretty good regularity. We see them as the leading industry after aerial photography and video. That’s been true in every study we’ve done. The survey, mapping and GIS firms use drones are still the #2 industrial users of drones.

Way back when ASPRS was looking at drones, they hosted the Inaugural ASPRS UAS Conference 2014 held in Reno and their people began to cautiously look at it. They were very rigorous in approaching drones. They said their customers were interested in the accuracy so we needed to check out the accuracy characteristic of drones. They did the testing, and they came up with a standard. They’ve been the rigorous adopters and scrutinizers, and that’s been good for the industry. They are the ones to put the technology to task, not only on the drones itself but also in the photogrammetry software.

At the Commercial UAV Expo we see more surveying and mapping people show up.

There is some concern that the scanning wouldn’t be as good as from ground scanning or from Total Stations. For the most part, that was true in the beginning. However, now camera resolutions have improved and there are better accuracy capabilities such as data collection capabilities on drones. We see companies like Leica putting together their own special custom drone that collects very accurate data. Or someone like AirGon, they’ve done testing with the Septentrio board that allows for better accuracy in tagging the images. You now just have better accuracy from open sensor and GNSS devices that are onboard the drones.

Who are buying what types of drones?

Our report includes a summary of who is buying drones. Most people are aerial photographers and videographers and the next largest group are surveying mapping people, then asset, infrastructure, facility inspection after that.

More than half (1,568) of the respondents identified themselves as small drone hobbyist / enthusiast, and 44% of respondents (1,111) identified themselves as certified FAA Part 107 remote pilots, or as certified UAV/UAS/RPAS unmanned pilots.

Over a third of respondents (942) identified themselves as either owners / principals or employees of a sUAS commercial service provider. About 15% (371) identified themselves as either an employee, owner, or principal of a business that uses drone-based services.

Are some of these service providers and users using drones for a lot of their work?

There are people who use drone imaging maybe once a month, and then you’ve got those who are using it really frequently.

According to our analytics, 34% only do 1-5 projects per year.

Is Drone Analyst a software?

Skylogic is a market research and analysis firm. Drone Analyst is a registered brand of Skylogic research company.

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Categories: 3D Cities, agriculture, air pollution, analytics, asset management, Big Data, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, data, disaster relief, DroneDeploy, drones, emergency response, field GIS, geoinformatics, geospatial, GIS, GNSS, government, GPS, handhelds, laser radar, lidar, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, Moasis, mobile, mobile mapping, OpenGeo, photogrammetry, public safety, remote sensing, resilient cities, satellite based tracking, satellite imagery, sensors, Septentrio, situational intelligence, spatial data, subsurface utilities, survey, telecommunications, transportation, Trimble, UAS, UAV, UAVs, underground mapping

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