Drones in construction: macroeconomic trends

Commercial applications of drones are gradually increasing and many companies are seeking regulatory approvals for the large-scale deployment of drones in their day-to-day operations. These optimistic prospects for drones are driving intense competition in the market with many companies, both established players and start-ups, vying for a share in a market that is expected to experience strong growth over the next five years.

Macroeconomic trends

Below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the theme of the drone industry, as identified by GlobalData.


Representing over 70% of the global drone market, the government segment, made up of military and law enforcement agencies, was the main driver of demand for drones. Primarily used to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) activities, military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are currently being developed for a wide range of uses such as electronic attacks (EA), strike missions , suppression / destruction of enemy air defenses (SEAD), network nodes, communication relays and combat search and rescue (CSAR). The demand for drones from military forces will continue to grow as the number of potential applications of drone technologies increases.


Drones have emerged as a warrior from a distance in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Several countries, including China, the United States, Australia, Germany, India, Chile, Indonesia and the Philippines, have mobilized drones for a wide range of applications such as the disinfection of indoor and outdoor locations, surveillance and surveillance, and non-contact deliveries of drugs and groceries. Additionally, broadcasting with speakers attached to drones has functioned as a forward-looking communication method used to make important public announcements. In countries like China, Germany, Ghana and Italy, drones have also been deployed for the collection and transport of patient samples, swabs, blood, plasma and kits. personal protective equipment (PPE).

Industrial outlook

Drone technology will be adopted in industrial markets in the following areas: aerial inspection and surveillance; payload delivery; media and entertainment; and security. These applications will require the integration of a range of technologies such as 3D, laser, acoustics, augmented reality (AR), computer vision and cognitive tools. However, the growth of drone applications in commercial spaces will continue to be constrained by existing regulations and public concerns for safety, security and privacy.

Industries expected to harness drones and associated technologies over the next 12-24 months include construction and real estate, oil and gas and mining, power and utilities, agriculture, media and entertainment. Subsequently, the increase in drone-related investments will also be noted in the telecommunications, insurance, retail and logistics sectors, over the next two to four years.

Booming competition

The global drone market is exceptionally competitive, with various solutions and services offered by many companies. Although the large-scale application of drones in commercial airspace is mainly limited by regulatory frameworks and the lack of effective traffic management systems, the potential commercialization of recreational and commercial activities is attracting companies from all walks of life. information and communications technology (ICT).


Drone manufacturers, component suppliers, software integrators, and potential user companies all share a vested interest in working together to promote the adoption of drone technology. The commercial deployment of drones beyond pilot studies and proof of concept projects is hampered by the slowness of the definition and adaptation of regulations. This creates a common cause for several organizations to work together to influence the pace and direction of public policy when it comes to drone technology.

Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)

To be truly effective, drones must be able to operate at long distances from the controller. The ability to operate BVLOS is currently the most demanding challenge facing commercial drone applications around the world.

As part of its ongoing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UTM) Traffic Management Program, which focuses on the control and management of unmanned aircraft, NASA is working to develop an effective “sensing and Avoidance ”for drones, which will take advantage of sensors and on-board computers to safely avoid nearby traffic. Backed by NASA, a drone software integrator, Simulyze, has demonstrated its BVLOS and collision avoidance capabilities in its Mission Insight platform.

BVLOS operations are gradually gaining traction, with regulatory authorities granting approvals in particular use cases, although most often for experimental purposes at this point. For example, Switzerland and Sweden have authorized large-scale BVLOS operations for SenseFly and Heliscope / Scopito respectively. Such initiatives by national regulators encourage drone industry participants to continue exploring BVLOS technologies and enable the development of an effective drone management system.

The rise of China

China is currently the dominant country in the commercial drone market and is expected to play a key role in reforming industry trends and regulations in the years to come. China continuously invests in the development of drone capabilities for military and commercial applications. The country’s latest development – Caihong 5 (CH-5) Rainbow – is compared to the American Reaper and the Israeli Heron TP, which are recognized as the most advanced military drones currently in service in the world. Although China has demonstrated drones capable of striking, deployments so far have been limited to non-combat zones.

China has enabled faster development of premium drones for enterprise applications. As the commercial demand for drones increases, major Chinese players are striving to develop their ability to sell and provide service and support in international markets. To maintain their market share in Western countries, Chinese companies are rapidly investing in technologies that should lead to regulatory reforms for drone applications in commercial airspace.

In order to promote R&D in Chinese drone technology, the country is also exploring easing its restrictions on domestic airspace. According to the latest announcements from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China’s domestic drone market is expected to be valued at 180 billion yuan ($ 25 billion) by 2025. MIIT has issued guidelines to promote unified management systems for the domestic drone industry, strengthen competitive advantage in the international market, and promote major Chinese manufacturers. These guidelines represent a strong signal that the country is determined to meet the challenge on a global scale and enable its local businesses to consolidate their market positions in the future.

This is an edited excerpt from the Drones in construction – Thematic research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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