Drone Market Will Soar in 2017

Production of drones for personal and commercial use is growing rapidly, with global market revenue expected to increase 34 percent to more than $6 billion in 2017, according to a new forecast. Almost three million drones will be produced this year, 39 percent more than in 2016.

While the civil, personal and commercial markets have been wading through regulation by various governments, popularity in these markets has not diminished. The overall drone market will see substantial growth.

The commercial drone market is much smaller than personal drones, but with a higher average selling price. As more countries set drone regulations, the market is stabilizing, and companies are buying drones to test and deploy in nearly every industry.

Commercial drones normally have a higher payload, longer flight times and redundant sensors and flight controllers to make them safer. They are specialized for functions such as mapping delivery, or industrial inspection, so prices vary according to these requirements.

In commercial markets, new case studies are showing savings in costs and time, as well as increased accuracy and quality. Industrial inspections have been successful, primarily in oil and gas, energy, infrastructure and transportation. Regulations do not have as much of an impact on the market as was originally thought. The inspection segment will dominate, capturing 30 percent of the commercial drone market through 2020.

Delivery drones continue to capture attention but will not be a major factor for several years. The return on investment has not been proven, either in regard to the cost of the drone, operational costs or customer delivery. They will amount to less than 1 percent of the commercial market by 2020.

As the uses for drones overlap and the technology improves, the construction industry will gain a valuable tool to use at the jobsite.

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