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North America Small UAV Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2023-2028)

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  • 87 Pages
  • April 2023
  • Region: North America
  • Mordor Intelligence
  • ID: 4663620
The North American small UAV market is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 7% during the forecast period.

Since unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) procurement is a direct proponent of the demand from end-user industries, COVID-19 has severely impacted the market in focus. The ongoing global economic slowdown is anticipated to result in a subsequent decline in the demand for UAVs from end-user sectors that deploy drones for various applications. However, the demand for UAVs has rapidly increased due to their diverse application portfolio. However, due to existing regulations and controls, major US-based companies are less likely to bear the impact of the wider supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic.

The growing realization of drone deployment in military operations has encouraged vendors to offer drones that can be used in numerous commercial applications. Drones are also being adopted in other applications, including internet provision in remote places, aerial photography and video recording, survey and documenting wildlife, and public service missions. Several companies primarily offer small drones used in agricultural and aerial photography and data collection applications. Home deliveries via drones have become a reality due to the efforts of logistics and retail companies, such as Amazon and UPS, toward rolling out the technology. Enhanced investments in drone technologies are also anticipated to foster long-term growth of the market. However, the growth of the small UAV market in North America can be hindered by technological constraints, such as limited endurance, SWaP challenges, and the presence of non-uniform laws and regulations that can restrict the usage of such systems in the airspace of certain countries.

North America Small UAV Market Trends

Agriculture Industry to Witness Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

Small UAVs are increasingly used for agricultural applications, such as field mapping, wherein drones are deployed to enhance the yield of the land by analyzing the crops and spraying fertilizers without disturbing the soil fertility. For instance, Rantizo, an Iowa-based company, has been using drones to spray pesticides over cornfields, soybean plots, vineyards, blueberry farms, vegetable rows, and hemp fields. In November 2021, Rantizo became the first company to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate the DJI Agras T-30 drone for agricultural applications.

Similarly, as of September 2021, the Houston-based Startup Hylio was looking to push into the medical-cannabis space with crop-spraying drones. Hylio has trialed with more than 500 clients, ranging from small- and medium-sized farmers to large-scale corporate farms and agricultural service providers. The increasing use would also encourage new players to venture into the segment, driving the rapid growth of the segment during the forecast period.

The United States is Projected to Show Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

The United States is one of the largest users of UAV technologies both in the commercial and defense sectors. Recent relaxations in small UAV operations in the country have resulted in a splurge in demand for UAVs from the end-user sectors. Previously, small drone operations over people were limited to operations over people directly participating in the operation, located under a covered structure, or inside a stationary vehicle unless operators had obtained a waiver from the FAA. However, in December 2020, the FAA permitted drone flight over people and permitted small UAV operations at night. This modification in the otherwise strict regulations is anticipated to be a significant step toward the eventual use of small UAVs for widespread commercial deliveries. The new rules also eliminate requirements that drones be connected to the internet to transmit location data but require that they broadcast remote ID messages via radio frequency. A favorable regulatory framework is anticipated to drive the adoption of small UAVs further during the forecast period.

According to the FAA, there were 855,860 drones registered in the United States by May 2022. Of these, 63% of registrations (536,183) were for recreational purposes, and 37% (316,075) were for commercial operations. Also, the FAA has awarded 277,845 remote pilot certificates. Thus, the growing use of drones for various commercial and defense applications drives market growth across the United States.

North America Small UAV Market Competitor Analysis

The North American small UAV market is comprised of a handful of established players who enjoy a strong foothold in the market, such as AeroVironment Inc., Thales Group, IAI, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Elbit Systems Ltd. However, several small companies and startups entered the market in the past few years due to the high profitability in the market. Companies are competing to gain market shares and are developing advanced technology-integrated drone hardware and software solutions that reduce human effort in applications such as mining, construction, and aerial mapping. Since the payload, endurance, and flight range of a drone platform are the primary concerns of OEMs and operators alike, the emergence of alternative fuel-powered drones is expected to cause significant changes in the competitive scenario. Moreover, the use of composite-based materials for the construction of critical components and parts of drones would likely increase the capabilities of the drone platforms and fuel their widespread adoption across different industries.

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Table of Contents

1.1 Study Assumptions
1.2 Scope of the Study
4.1 Market Overview
4.2 Market Drivers
4.3 Market Restraints
4.4 Industry Attractiveness: Porters Five Forces Analysis
4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers
4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants
4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products
4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
5.1 UAV Type
5.1.1 Fixed-wing
5.1.2 Rotary-wing
5.2 Propulsion Technology
5.2.1 Hydrogen Cell
5.2.2 Hybrid
5.2.3 Solar
5.2.4 Lithium-ion
5.3 End-user Industry
5.3.1 Construction
5.3.2 Agriculture
5.3.3 Energy
5.3.4 Entertainment
5.3.5 Defense and Law Enforcement
5.3.6 Other End-user Industries
5.4 Country
5.4.1 United States
5.4.2 Canada
6.1 Vendor Market Share
6.2 Company Profiles
6.2.1 Elbit Systems Ltd
6.2.2 Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd
6.2.3 Thales Group
6.2.4 AeroVironment Inc.
6.2.5 BAE Systems PLC
6.2.6 SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd
6.2.7 Aeronautics Ltd
6.2.8 Lockheed Martin Corporation
6.2.9 Skydio
6.2.10 Parrot Drone SAS

Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • Elbit Systems Ltd
  • Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd
  • Thales Group
  • AeroVironment Inc.
  • BAE Systems PLC
  • SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd
  • Aeronautics Ltd
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Skydio
  • Parrot Drone SAS