Consumer Interest in Drones is Taking Flight

by Parks Associates | Mar. 27, 2017

Blog post submitted by AUVSI

Consumers love drones. They were a hot holiday gift item in 2016, and interest continues to grow. In fact, Goldman Sachs estimates the consumer market for drones will generate $17 billion between 2016 and 2020.

Driving much of this growth is consumer interest in drones and their social, leisure, and security applications. Social media feeds are starting to feature “dronies” – selfies taken with a drone. A host of new, smaller drones designed for photography are being introduced all the time. And larger, established photo brands are also capitalizing on the trend. For example, Polaroid introduced a line of camera drones – perfect for taking “dronies” or capturing travel and family memories – earlier this year. And in January, news leaked that drone manufacturer DJI had acquired a majority stake in storied Swedish camera maker Hasselblad, setting the stage for reviving an older brand with new life.

Racing and customization are also driving growth. AirBlock, a new, Kickstarter-funded entrant to the consumer drone space, is building a lot of excitement for its modular, programmable drone.  Enthusiasts who are eager to build and code their own drone have funded the start-up to the tune of more than $800,000 – and growing.

Drones are also being used to enhance the consumer experience in other sectors. For example, luxury vacation rental company Villaway is using drones to capture and share aerial footage of their rentals.  And we are all familiar with Amazon’s plans for drone delivery. CEO Jeff Bezos announced the first successful delivery in December 2016.

The connected home also benefits from drone technology. Sensors and drones working in tandem, for example, are changing the game for home security. Smart sensors and lights outside a home can detect unusual activity and trigger a camera-equipped drone to set out and take pictures of the home, identifying any  disturbances and sending the images directly to a smartphone. 

Enthusiasts are finding other uses around the home as well – from using drones to check the gutters, rather than climbing up a ladder, to scanning the tree line for damage after a major storm on large properties. Companies like Amazon, Google, Qualcomm and Intel are all looking at ways drones can be used in the home – and beyond. We expect growth to continue to explode as consumers join business users in harnessing the power of unmanned systems.

AUVSI XPONENTIAL Showcases the Latest Drone Developments

AUVSI’s upcoming conference – XPONENTIAL 2017– takes place in Dallas May 8-11 and features an educational track dedicated to exploring the opportunities for UAS in wirelessAmong the program’s participants are thought leaders from government agencies, such as DOD, FAA, NASA, NOAA; and commercial organizations, including AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, Spirent Communications, Qualcomm, Intel, and Facebook.

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