Drone Usage is Set to Explode by 2020

In a report from [BI Intelligence][1], we take a deep dive into the various levels of the growing global industry for commercial drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This report provides forecasts for the business opportunity in commercial drone technology, looks at advances and persistent barriers, highlights the top business-to-business markets in terms of applications and end users, and provides an exclusive list of dozens of notable companies already active in the space. Finally, it digs into the current state of US regulation of commercial drones, recently upended by the issuing of the Federal Aviation Administration's draft rules for commercial drone flights. Few people know that many companies are already authorized to fly small drones commercially under a US government "exemption" program.


Here are some of the main takeaways from the report:

  • The global commercial drone market will take shape around a handful of industries: agriculture, energy, utilities, mining, construction, real estate, news media, and film production.

  • Most growth in the drone industry is on the commercial/civilian side, as the shift away from the military market gains momentum.

  • E-commerce and package delivery will not be an early focus of the drone industry.

  • Legacy drone manufacturers focused mostly on military clients do not have a natural advantage in the fast-evolving civilian drone market.

  • Proposed US regulation would effectively end the ban on commercial drone flights.

  • Technology barriers are both a roadblock and a huge business opportunity.

  • Many of the notable early commercial UAV manufacturers are emerging outside of the US market.

  • The commercial-drone industry is still young but has begun to see some consolidation and major investments from large industrial conglomerates, chip companies, and defense contractors