As UAS technology gets cheaper, state and local governments are taking notice when it comes to public-safety drones as a means to save money, replacing manned aerial projects.
Specifically, police, fire, and rescue agencies are taking flight to save lives in the field, and fresh research says that sector will fly even higher going forward.
A new study by the Ohio-based Freedonia Group projects safety/security drones sales (excluding military purchases) will double by 2019, ascending to $250 million over current sales estimates of $90 million.
The report adds:
“Over the short term, safety and security drone sales are expected to nearly double by 2019, reaching $250 million. Between 2019 and 2022, sales are expected to see explosive growth and increase more than fourfold. Long term growth prospects are also bright, with sales projected to increase nearly sevenfold in the six-year period between 2022 and 2028.”
The study estimates that safety and security drone sales account for approximately 20 percent of total commercial UAV market share.
Among the reasons for the surge, the report notes:
- “Rapidly spreading awareness of the capabilities and benefits of commercial drones, including the option to integrate drones into existing security systems and services to provide actionable intelligence;
- Declining equipment costs as economies of scale continue to allow manufacturers to produce equipment more efficiently and as broader demand for sensors and specialized equipment eases current supply shortages, making drones a more affordable option for potential end users;
- Evolving industry regulations that will help remove gray areas in the legality of operation and encourage wider adoption among potential end users who may otherwise hesitate due to liability concerns.”
The study also analyzes major drone-sector players including DJI, Aeryon Labs, FLIR Systems, Lockheed Martin, Physical Sciences, Textron, UAV Solutions and Yuneec International.
In 2017, Freedonia released a similar report projecting American government spending on drones will more than double in eight years. The report predicted public-sector spending will leap from $100 million to $250 million by 2025 with federal spending alone accounting for $170 million in new UAV tech purchases.
“The state and local government market for drones is expected to quadruple to $40 million in 2020, outperforming federal government demand, but remaining extremely modest in size,” analysts stated.