Judging by statistics related to the use of unmanned aerial aircraft in 2016, the year 2017 will be very active in terms of drones becoming a mainstream device adopted for many purposes.
According to statistics compiled by the United States Federal Aviation Administration, drone purchases made by the general public were close to reaching the two million mark in 2016. More than 600,000 drones were sold to commercial enterprises last year.
Statistical Drone Projections for 2017
From 2017 to 2020, the FAA predicts that the civilian drone market will reach sales of 4.3 million; many of these sales will be advanced toys with limited flight range. A more interesting projection by the FAA is related to sales of drones for commercial purposes such as research, monitoring and deliveries of goods: more than 2.5 million sales are expected from 2017 until the end of the decade.
The leading drone manufacturer in 2016 was DJI, which is based in China. Most unmanned aerial systems developed by DJI are for the consumer market; over the last few years, this company has become a respected name among individuals who are interested in drones as a hobby. French drone manufacturer Parrot is quickly catching up to DJI thanks to its innovative designs. Two American companies are rising up in the world of drone manufacturing: 3D Robotics and INSITU, but they have ways to go before they can seriously compete against DJI and Parrot.
Drones are becoming an important part of the profitable consumer electronics industry. According to a May 2016 report published by Fortune magazine, annual drone sales have tripled on a year-over-year basis since 2015 to more than $200 million. Although manufacturers such as DJI have introduced very basic drones at affordable prices to satisfy demand by consumers who are curious about these flying devices, many drones cost well over $500.
Drone Applications in 2017
It is interesting to note that the drone market is becoming segmented into the following categories:
Modern features being added to drones in 2017 are blurring the lines between the hobby and research drones. For example, more hobby drones are being equipped with high-resolution cameras, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, and IP addressing so that they can be part of the Internet of Things.
In the defense sector, military use of American drones is expected to continue in 2017, particularly in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the statistics related to drone strikes in this part of the world indicate collateral incidents such as civilian casualties, which included 57 deaths and 104 injuries in 2016.