Non-Military Drone Spending Will Hit $11.8 Billion by 2026

June 28, 2017

10:50 am

Aviation experts say drone spending will soar higher than the drones themselves over the next decade, according to a recent study.

2017 drone spending will pass two and a half billion, but it’s only growing from there, VAO news reports:

“The Teal Group says around $2.8 billion will be spent on non-military drones globally this year, growing to $11.8 billion by 2026. The report says easing airspace regulations, major investment, and work by major technology companies means the civil drone market is ready ‘to take off.’ While many drones are used by hobbyists, commercial drones are the fastest growing part of this market.”

While there are potentially 40,000 licensed commercial drone pilots in the U.S., that number is likely to grow with the speed of a merely-days-long certification process.

But Will Regulations Loosen?

Part of the enthusiasm about the future of commercial drones draws on news from earlier this month: A collection of the nation’s biggest wireless companies and drone makers lobbied the Trump administration to lower regulations on the nascent industry.

From Recode:

“As part of the White House’s five-day focus on technology, Trump gathered executives from those industries — including AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, PrecisionHawk CEO Michael Chasen and a number of venture capitalists — for a morning of brainstorming sessions devoted to spurring new investments in emerging fields.

[…] Top drone manufacturers, meanwhile, called on the president to clear the skies for their unmanned aerial craft. PrecisionHawk’s Chasen, for example, asked Trump to address restrictions that are ‘limiting what drone technology can do.’ With more federal permissions, he said, ‘we can stay competitive with other countries.'”

The meeting followed earlier legislation indicating that the administration intended to seek power over the drone sector. As Tech.Co previously covered, the item of concern is a “10-page draft and summary of legislation that would enable the U.S. government to track, hack, destroy, and seize drones in the U.S. without prior consent.”

Drones can be used for everything from keeping golf courses green to mapping buildings with X-ray-like vision to feeding sharks. As the industry’s total worth grows into 11 digits over the next decade, it will cover a multitude of possibilities.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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