Drones in Agriculture, Not The Explosion Predicted

Ever notice how almost all market reports give you a positive spin on their target market? The market for IoT-connected weasels was at $8 billion in 2017, expected to reach $21.5 bazillion by 2025 at a CAGR of 50-bazillion percent, etc., etc., and etc. Once in an umber moon it’s almost refreshing to get something just a tad negative (or truthful). This may be it.


Initial market reports may have indicated that agriculture was touted as one of the first industries that would leverage the rapid development of commercial-grade small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAVs or drones) and incorporate them into its practices. As a result, large numbers of drone providers entered the market over the past five to seven years, either specializing in agricultural solutions or having it as part of their wider portfolio in anticipation for explosive growth.

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On the contrary, according to ABI Research, the explosive growth forecasted by others is hugely over-estimated.  ABI Research’s projected revenue for sUAV agricultural services is $3.2 billion by 2025. Rian Whitton, Principal Analyst at ABI Research says, “ABI Research gives comparatively conservative estimates at the valuation of the drone-ag market for many reasons, including an increasingly consolidated market, and the actual needs of the farming industry. The overenthusiasm and exaggeration in the early stages of the industry should be subdued by the fact that drones are not the only source of aerial imaging. Satellites and manned aircraft have been providing similar services for years, and have some identifiable advantages. This emphasizes a more important point that the discussion really does not center on the hardware of drones, but on the actionable insights that are garnered by data-gathering.”


ABI Research can predict that the short-term future will harbor considerable change in the drone-agriculture ecosystem. The large number of current vendors will likely be trimmed down into a more consolidated market, as aerospace giants like Airbus and Boeing further involve themselves in delivering commercial sUAV solutions.


These findings are from ABI Research’s Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Agriculture Applications report. This report is part of the company’s Robotics, Automation & Intelligent Systems research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. For further endarkenment, visit ABI Research

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