Drone Industry Insights (DRONEII.COM) recently released their yearly Drone Barometer. Starting with an overview of the survey participants, there was an increase over last year’s results. 891 responses overall reflected an increase of 31% from 2021. Representatives came from 81 countries – up from 64 last year and the countries with the highest level of respondents included Japan, the United States, Germany, South Korea, Australia, and Switzerland. Although the respondents were primarily from small enterprises with less than 10 employees, there was increase in respondents from companies with more than 10,000 employees showing a trend toward use of drone technology in larger firms.

So what did they learn? Although last year’s results were greatly impacted by the pandemic, it seems that most survey respondents feel they have moved beyond this challenge and are back to a more normal business state. “Though it cannot be said that everything is back to "business as usual", business operations are still more normal than they were the previous two years, reported Drone Industry Insights.

The companies responding this year’s survey fell into two categories. Drone service providers (DSP) or business-internal services (BIS). DSPs business is to offer drone services to clients across different industries such as energy, construction or agriculture. BIS operate drones in-house for their organisation. There were some interesting findings as to the key reason that companies have adopted the use of drones as part of their business operations. The top reasons to do so turned out to be improving work safety (41%), saving time (35%), and improving quality (33%). I find this interesting because we don’t see cost reduction on the top priority list and many believe that drones are being implemented to reduce the cost of humans doing some tasks (such as inspection and survey) and this didn’t come out in the research.

Who will be the industry drivers over the next twelve months? Respondents came back with rule-making authorities followed by drone manufacturers and drone service providers. This isn’t really a surprising outcome with all of the regions being a bit ‘on hold’ for rulemaking to be resolved order to move to the next level of offering drone services. Such as those which require beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) approval.

We’re just hitting on a few highlights and recommend a read of the entire report. But it’s interesting to see the direction the industry is going and that this portion of the aviation world seems to have moved beyond the impact of the global pandemic. Let’s hope manned aviation can swiftly follow.