Enterprise Drones

dronesUnmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been in development since World War I for use in military operations. During World War I, the aim was to design an automatically guided, unmanned biplane that would act as a torpedo. The Kettering Bug, built by the U.S. Army, first flew in 1918 but was never used in the war. In the 1930s, the Navy continued experimenting with radio-controlled aircraft. The Radioplane OQ-2 became the first mass-produced UAV in the U.S. Fifteen thousand were manufactured for the Army during World War II.

Modern unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, began being developed by the Air Force in the 1960s and 1970s for surveillance flights. By the late 1990s, engineers were working on arming them with missiles. After September 11, 2001, the CIA began flying armed drones over Afghanistan. The military continues to use ever more sophisticated drones of various sizes in its operations.

Drone kits for hobbyists were sold in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The first commercially successful consumer drone was released in 2010. The Parrot AR Drone was the first ready-to-fly drone controlled by Wi-Fi using a smartphone. It sold more than 500,000 units. Its successor, the AR Drone 2.0, had an improved piloting system, which made it easier for newcomers to use. According to Goldman Sachs, consumer drones are expected to generate $3.3 billion in revenue by 2020, up from $700 million in 2014.

Recognizing the potential of drones beyond military or consumer use, the Federal Aviation Administration issued permits for commercial drones in 2006. These permits removed some restrictions placed on consumer drones. At first, few companies requested commercial drone permits. Today’s market size shows the number of commercial, or enterprise, drones shipped in 2017 and 2023 in the United States. The shipment figure for 2023 is estimated.

Drones are used by civilian government entities, such as police and fire departments, and various industries throughout the United States. The construction industry spent the most on drones in 2016, $11.2 billion. The agriculture industry followed, spending $5.9 billion. Some uses for drones in the construction industry include mapping, surveying land, inspecting buildings, and monitoring on-site activities. Agriculture uses include monitoring crop health, assessing drought impacts, and analyzing the soil. According to Technavio, Aeryon Labs, 3D Robotics, DJI, Parrot, PrecisionHawk, DroneDeploy, Yuneec, Cyberhawk Innovations, Strat Aero and Dragonfly Innovations were the top manufacturers of enterprise drones in 2018.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017 and 2023
Market size: 84,000 and 1,465,000 respectively
Sources: Nicholas Shields, “UberEats is Eyeing Drone Deliveries,” Business Insider, October 24, 2018 available online here; John Sifton, “A Brief History of Drones,” The Nation, February 7, 2012 available online here; Kashyap Vyas, “A Brief History of Drones: The Remote Controlled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” Interesting Engineering, January 2, 2018 available online here; Ed Darack, “A Brief History of Quadrotors,” Air & Space, May 19, 2017 available online here; “Drones: Reporting for Work,” Goldman Sachs, 2016 available online here; John Patterson, “An Aerial View of the Future – Drones in Construction,” Geospatial World, September 5, 2018 available online here; Meg Gerli, “Agricultural Uses of Drones,” November 9, 2017 available online here; Michael R., “Top 10 Drone Manufacturers in the Global Commercial Drone Industry – Flying High in a Competitive Business,” Technavio Blog, March 20, 2018 available online here.
Original source: Business Insider Intelligence estimates.
Image source: StockSnap, “mountain-sky-clouds-nature-drone-2574006,” Pixabay, August 2, 2017 available online here.


Commercial Airline Fleet numbers

Upon the news of the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways, creating in the process the largest passenger air carrier in the world, our attention is again drawn to the commercial airline industry. It has been a very rocky century so far for this industry.

In late 2011, the parent company of American Airlines, AMR, filed for bankruptcy protection, making American Airlines the last of the big six U.S. airlines to file for bankruptcy protection since the turn of the century (they are listed below). The use of commercial, passenger aircraft as missiles in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States can be seen as the first of many disruptions to the system, disruptions that included a worldwide financial crisis and a region-wide shutdown of air traffic due to the threat posed by volcanic ash. Underlying all of this has been the steady increase in the price of jet fuel which now makes up just over one-third of operating expenses for the industry as a whole.

Today’s market size is the number of aircraft being operated by U.S. air carriers. This number does include aircraft used for freight (12.3%) but does not include private jets or the fleets operated by small companies offering nonscheduled, special order flights. The graph shows how the industry fleet size has changed over the past 17 years. A line is also provided on the graph that shows the average, industry-wide, passenger load factor each year (PLF). The PLF is a calculation of Revenue Passenger Miles (RPM) divided by Available Seat Miles (ASM).

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2001 and 2011
Market size: 8,497 and 7,185 aircraft respectively
Source: “TABLE 2-6. Number of U.S. Aircraft, Vehicles, and Other Conveyances: 2004-2009,” Transportation Statistics Annual Report-2010, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) – U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), available online here. Data for 2010 and 2011 are from an article by Aaron Karp, “FAA: US Commercial Aircraft Fleet Shrank in 2011,” March 13, 2012, Airports Today, available online here. The data on passenger load factors in the graph are from another report by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, available online here.
Original source: U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Federal Aviation Agency

Largest Bankruptcy Filings in the U.S. Airline Industry since 2000

TWA (2001)
U.S. Airways (2002)
United Airlines (2002)
Delta Air Lines (2006)
Northwest Airlines (2006)
AMR (American Airlines) (2011)

Posted on February 14, 2013

Launchers for UAVs

Some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are controlled by a navigator from a remote location and others fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans. These aircraft carry cameras, sensors, and communication equipment. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles, also known as combat drones, are armed and have been used in various wars since the 1980s.

Although unmanned aerial vehicles are used primarily by the military, recently they’ve also been used in fighting large fires, in support of border patrol activities, and in the surveillance of pipelines. Launchers for these vehicles are portable so that they can be placed in remote areas, without a need for an airport. They are also modular so that components can be replaced easily and used in multiple configurations. Data show the market size of the launchers for unmanned aerial vehicles for 2011 and estimated market size for 2018.

Geographic reference: Worldwide
Year: 2011 and 2018
Market Size: $118 million and $1.3 billion respectively
Sources: “Summary: Launchers for Unmanned Aerial Systems and Targets: Market Shares, Strategies, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2012 to 2018,” ReportLinker, August 2012, available online here; “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,” Wikipedia, October 7, 2012, available online here; “Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle,” Wikipedia, October 2, 2012, available online here; and “Unmanned Aerial System,” Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, 2012, available online here.
Posted on October 12, 2012

Market for New Business Jet Aircraft

This market size is based on projections of new aircraft construction contracts in the decade 2009–2019. Leading players in the market are Gulfstream, Bombardier, Cessna, and Dassault. Together these companies control 84% of the market.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2009–2019
Market size: 12,768 aircraft valued at $195.9 billion
Source: “Teal Group Bizav Overview,” July 2009 available online here.
Original source: Teal Group

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Market

Military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted the ability of the unmanned aerial vehicle to perform a wide range of missions from reconnaissance to dropping bombs on enemy combatants. UAVs are now in service in more than 50 countries. During 2007, these aircraft logged more than 500,000 flight hours. In terms of UAV procurement, the largest share of the market goes to the U.S. military and defense agencies (64%). The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 20% and European and NATO requirements account for the remaining 16%.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2007-2008
Market size: 6,314 aircraft produced
Source: Chris Red, “The Outlook for Unmanned Aircraft,” Composites Technology, April 20, 2009 available online here.