Growth opportunity of drones may well have been over-exaggerated

The drone market may not boom quite as expected, according to ABI Research, with the market said to have experienced mass over-enthusiasm

Growth opportunity of drones may well have been over-exaggerated

Given industry titans like Amazon and Domino’s are trialling drone deliveries, it’s easy to see why the technology has been a hot topic among startups and SMEs alike for the past few years. However, despite the agriculture industry having long been poised to benefit from this new era of aerial photography, a new report from ABI Research, the market-foresight firm, claims such estimates may be missing the mark.

While economists from the American Aviation Institute estimates that the global agricultural-drone market will virtually explode to $82.1bn by 2025, ABI Research’s projects that the revenue for small-unmanned aerial vehicle (sUAV) agricultural services will land at just $3.2bn by 2025.

Not only is the market already extremely consolidated – with aerospace titans such as Airbus and Boeing predicted to delve into commercial sUAV solutions in the future – but is also competing with other technologies that can snap aerial photographies. For instance, satellites and manned aircrafts can provide a similar service and have actually been doing so for decades.

But despite the market not being estimated to grow as much as predicted, the researchers are still bullish about the industry’s future. For instance, ABI Research points out that there are real opportunities in creating solutions that can produce actionable insights from the data gathered from aerial photography, no matter what device it was shot from. 

Commenting on the research, Rian Whitton, principal analyst at ABI Research, said:  “Commentators, investors and onlookers should not let the many caveats and the legitimate issue of industry hype distract from what is an exciting technological and commercial development for a key primary industry.”

With emphasis on such a prediction resting on a saturated market for aerial-imaging technology, ABI Research’s report may mean actors in this competitive startup industry will face even more challenges before their entrepreneurial dreams take flight. 

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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