Several elements are contributing to the optimistic outlook for the United States drone market.
Some of the more significant factors are: the growing number of commercial drone pilots, the expansion of 5G networks across the country, and increased industry adoption of UAVs.
Let’s expand on each of these points.
The growing number of commercial drone pilots
It is important to note that the largest number of registered commercial drones is in the United States. As of Nov. 17, the FAA has a total of over 1.7 million registered drones, with about 30% of these classified as commercial UAVs. Additionally, the FAA has issued over 200,000 remote pilot certifications.
The strong numbers of both commercial drone pilots and registered UAVs speak to the growing opportunities within the United States for the industry. Additionally, that continued growth highlights the increase in demand for commercial drone pilots with no leveling out in sight.
Related: 10-Year Outlook for the Drone Industry Within the United Kingdom
While the United States doesn’t have the fastest 5G network in the world, the system is expanding. Drone technology has advanced much faster than regulators could have ever anticipated. To keep the skies safe, the FAA imposed regulations on drone pilots, limiting the potential of UAV platforms.
Rules, such as the restriction to not fly a drone beyond a visual line of sight, have prevented drones from expanding further into new use cases. As the FAA becomes more comfortable with the technology, these restrictions are becoming less rigid.
With the current FAA restrictions and 4G network, drones can perform as needed. However, they will need 5G networks to operate in the skies sooner rather than later. The growth of these networks in the United States is paving the way for accelerating the use of drones within the county.
Increased industry adoption of UAVs
UAV technology continues to benefit from a growing acceptance of its use across a diverse set of industrial applications. Several businesses that are only recently beginning to use drones on a large scale, such as insurance companies, will become significant utilizers of the platform in the near future.
Other industries, such as construction, emergency response, and energy, have also used drones for quite some time for surveys and inspections. Additionally, the FAA published airworthiness criteria for the proposed certification of 10 different Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones as special class aircraft. This is a crucial step to enabling more complex drone operations beyond what is allowed under Part 107, including package delivery.