Agriculture could be one of the biggest drone markets. You might be familiar with the idea of drones delivering consumer packages or monitoring security areas, but did you know that drones were first used commercially in Japan for agricultural purposes? In fact, agricultural efficiency is poised to take a big leap with drone technology now that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is streamlining regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles. A recent report fromOpens a New Window. PwC pegs the addressable market for agricultural drones to be worth a whopping $32.4 billion, second only to infrastructure.
That’s a big number. And the interesting part is that PwC isn’t the only one expecting drones to revolutionize agriculture.
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch projects agriculture to make up almost 80% of the commercial drone market in the future, with the potential to generate $82 billion worth of economic activity in the U.S. between 2015 and 2025.
- Goldman Sachs predicts the agriculture sector to be the largest user of drones in the U.S. and the second largest in the world in the next five years.
- Research company Markets and Markets estimates the agricultural drone market to grow at a compounded average rate of 30% through 2022.
Not surprisingly, drone makers like AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) are increasingly focusing on agriculture. The latest example is AeroVironment’s Quantix drone, which it unveiled at the just-concluded Drone World Expo at San Jose, California. AeroVironment expects Quantix’s features like one-touch launch, which makes it easier to map fields and gather instant analytics, to strike a chord with farm operators.
In fact, even technology companies are throwing their weight behind agricultural drones. Consider Raven Industries (NASDAQ: RAVN), which specializes in navigation and radar systems solutions. Raven took a big leap earlier this year when it became the exclusive distribution partner for AgEagle’s agricultural unmanned aerial systems (UAS). AgEagle uses advanced technology like GoPro Inc.(NASDAQ: GPRO) cameras and sensors in its UAS to capture real-time data for crop surveillance.
AgEagle RX60 agricultural UAS. Image source: Raven Precision.
Considering that Raven already has long-standing partnerships with leading agricultural-equipment manufacturers like Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) and AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO), I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more agricultural companies pump money into drone technology in coming years.
Wait, they’re already doing it!
Read more on the Fox Business site