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Posted on February 10, 2017 by  & 

New IDTechEx report reveals much larger drone opportunity

Just when many investors are running for the exit, having burnt their fingers with toy drones and the like, IDTechEx reveals a much bigger picture with considerable potential for the level-headed. The new IDTechEx report, Electric UAV Drones: Autonomous, Energy Independent 2017-2027 invites us to consider the trends to larger drones increasingly with autonomy of navigation, task and energy. This confers with further benefits in aspects such as such as:
  • Stealth
  • Longer life
  • Greater reliability
  • Makes new things possible
  • Fewer and more-benign materials
  • Operating in dangerous environments
  • Less visual, sound and noise pollution
  • Longer endurance/ range and higher power tasks possible
Autonomy of navigation, task and power are the end game: These leverage each other. Drones are overcoming problems of direct human involvement in dirty, dangerous, boring, slow and imprecise operations that need to be done better and they will even be used for currently impossible tasks. IDTechEx forecasted the price collapse of toy versions but we reveal the huge opportunities in specialist hardware and most software and services elsewhere.
Drones of all sizes are receiving billions of dollars of investment, notably directed towards military small ones that will swarm and large ones doing surveillance and communications from the upper atmosphere. Facebook has something similar that will deliver the internet. Multi-billion dollar markets in hardware and services are emerging. Electric UAV Drones: Autonomous, Energy Independent 2017-2027 is an exciting read because it contains so much that is rarely or never reported elsewhere. For example TwingTec autonomous tethered drones generate 100kW of electricity and several others hover for weeks doing surveillance thanks to a power cable down to ground.
The report finds that swarming theory and endowment of curiosity will transform security and other applications. For instance small drones will investigate intrusions into secure areas such as ports and collaborate to investigate and control the situation. Virtually all civilian drones are electric but the minority of military ones that are electric is increasing now swarming drones are being launched from aircraft and other options investigated.
It is the only report encompassing all of this, based on new research worldwide carried out by multilingual PhD level analysts. For those wanting even more on specifics, there are related reports on robotics, electric vehicles, agribots and so on and all IDTechEx reports have 30 minutes of free consultancy attached.
The report presents densely packed but easily understood Powerpoint infograms, forecasts and roadmaps involving over 400 players with the most significant work identified using a profusion of images. There is an executive summary with the technology and evolving uses crisply explained followed by comparison of players, market forecasts and roadmaps. The market forecasts are for six drone categories and encompass numbers, prices and market values. Forecasts by others are presented for comparison.
The introduction chapter looks at definitions and briefly introduces key aspects that are more fully analysed in the subsequent chapters on applications, possibilities and next technologies. Electric UAV Drones: Autonomous, Energy Independent 2017-2027 does not have the madcap enthusiasm that mars so many other publications. It records the collapse of the toy market, Alphabet (Google) abandoning its Titan upper atmosphere solar drone, the $517 billion Northrop Grumman solar powered, autonomous surveillance airship being cancelled and the commoditisation of simple drones for photography. IDTechEx then forecasts disillusion setting in with postal delivery by drone in dense urban environments, giving reasons. On the other hand the report reveals many gaps in the markets that are opening up including several technologies and applications not reported in any other drone publications.
Because IDTechEx has carried out deep research on allied subjects such as autonomous, energy independent and electric vehicles in general and new sensor technology, this report benchmarks relevant things going on outside the drone business. It avoids the tunnel vision of other commentators. Learn where there are better alternatives for some drone applications but huge opportunities for others soon to be trialled, such as autonomous, helium-filled aerofoils carrying heavy freight across continents and postal drones demonstrated in remote areas that avoid most of the problems by dropping parcels not landing. How will we get the necessary ultra-efficient powertrains? What is the route to new regeneration creating on-board electricity instead of wasted heat and movement? How do we make viable the new forms of energy harvesting of ambient energy such as sun and wind? It is all here. The report ends with examples of insightful interviews recently carried out across the world.
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