The European small UAV market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 8% during the forecast period.
- The small UAV market is slowly becoming one of the major game-changers in the modern technological era. With its wide range of applications, small UAVs are expected to have a high adoption rate in European countries, with enterprises across different industries investing in these products.
- The use of small UAVs in the commercial sector has increased over the years. The low-cost applications of small UAVs in forestry, precision agriculture, air traffic management, road traffic monitoring, mining, wildlife monitoring, etc., are some of the factors propelling the growth of the market in the European region.
- However, regulations relating to the commercial use of small UAVs from CAA and other organizations are more. In countries, like the UK, permission from the CAA is required for any commercial work with a drone. Such regulations may pose a challenge to market growth in the region.
Key Market Trends
The Rotary-wing Segment to Register the Highest CAGR During the Forecast Period
By wing type, the rotary-wing segment currently holds a larger market share, compared to the fixed-wing segment. Small helicopter drones and quadcopter drones are being used on a large scale, both for military and commercial purposes, in Europe, due to their vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities and the advantage of being able to be deployed directly from the ground instead of being launched by hand or a launch platform. Furthermore, the high maneuverability of rotary-wing UAVs and their inherent ability to hover over a designated position are exceptionally useful for conducting surveillance missions for the defense forces. Also, over the past few years, the use of rotary-wing UAVs increased in the agriculture sector, as they support evidence-based planning, and in spatial data collection for conducting soil health scan, monitoring crop health, applying fertilizers, and detecting threats to the crop, such as pests, diseases, and weeds. Thus, diversified applications are driving the adoption of rotary-wing UAVs in the region.
The United Kingdom to Witness the Highest CAGR During the Forecast Period
The United Kingdom has one of the largest fleets of small UAVs in Europe. Small UAVs are largely being adopted by the police and law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom. The military is also planning to procure small UAVs for surveillance purposes. With the usage of small UAVs continuing to rise, the UK government enacted legislation to help achieve safer flying across the country. Hence, from November 2019, registration with the Civil Aviation Authority has been made compulsory for drones weighing more than 250 g. With the growing adoption of small UAVs in the commercial sector, the most immediate economic impact will come from lower costs and improved productivity. Using UAVs to automate routine tasks will also enhance safety performance, reduce risk, improve quality, and free people up to focus on value-added work. British Telecom is working on prototypes of small UAVs to provide temporary internet connectivity to challenging locations, such as areas that have suffered an earthquake. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other media groups have begun using small UAVs for filming. The use of small UAVs is also increasing in fields, like firefighting, the construction industry, the oil and gas industry, and the mining industry, as these fields require inspection of sites where human access is difficult and risky. Therefore, the small UAV market in the UK will continue to increase during the forecast period. At the same time, countries in the Rest of Europe, like Belgium, Denmark, Poland, and Greece, are increasingly adopting the usage of drones for various purposes.
SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd, Parrot Drones SAS, Northrop Grumman Corporation, AeroVironment Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Textron Inc. are some of the major players in the market. The market is currently fragmented, with many players producing their drones for civilian and commercial purposes. In Europe, the newly formulated drone regulations are to be strictly adhered to while operating a drone. As the small UAV market is still in its initial stage, players have the privilege to reach out to the untapped markets to gain significant revenues. Technological innovations may also help players attract new customers, thereby, boosting their revenue growth. For instance, in December 2019, DJI introduced a new thermal imaging camera, the Zenmuse XT, for its Matrice 200 series drones. The camera features an infrared thermal imaging sensor with high thermal sensitivity and resolutions for clear and detailed thermal imagery. In April 2019, Parrot Drone SAS unveiled ANAFI Thermal, which is an all-in-one drone-based thermography solution (drone+sensor+software). The product has a built-in 4K HDR camera and an integrated FLIR thermal sensor. Also, in September 2019, DJI introduced the P4 Multispectral drone for precision agriculture and land management. According to DJI, the P4 Multispectral combines data from six sensors to measure the health of crops, from individual plants to entire fields, as well as weeds, insects, and a variety of soil conditions.
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