Growing Drone Sizes Present Opportunities

While mini drones (drones weigh less than 2 kilograms) are forecast to maintain their dominance of drone market in the next five years, shipments of larger drones are forecast to grow faster, according to a market research report published by Innova Research, entitled “The World Market for Drones – 2015 edition”. In 2015, it was estimated that 85.5% of the global drone shipments were mini drones. However, Innova Research forecasts that the rapid growth of the larger drone shipments will push the shares of mini drones into a decline, ultimately to 77.3% of the total shipments by 2020. 

Mini drones typically have flight time below 30 minutes and flight range less than 5 kilometers. These performances are sufficient for most consumers but not for commercial users, whose applications require longer airborne time and flight range. Holding heavier payloads, traveling faster, and staying airborne longer, the larger drones are more capable to conduct complicated commercial applications. These include “small drones” with weight between 2 Kg and 20 Kg, “medium sized drones” with weight between 20 kg and 150 kg, and “large drones” with weight over 150 Kg. Driven by the rapid adoption of drones in various commercial applications, such as agriculture & forestry, mapping & GIS, power grid inspection, and oil & gas inspection, drone shipments with larger sizes are set to grow faster in the next five years.

Richard Jun Li, Vice President of Innova Research commented: “Larger sized drones house more diverse powertrain solutions, such as more powerful batteries, gas engine or combustion engine systems. Therefore, the fact that the average size of the drones are getting bigger presents good opportunities to the suppliers of these powertrain systems who want to penetrate into the drone market.”

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