Industry News

2018 Commercial Drone Industry Trends

May 29, 2018

The last year has been an exciting time to be in the commercial drone industry. We’ve seen drone adoption skyrocket across sectors, game-changing technology hit the market, and new partnerships form along the way.

It’s also been a significant year for DroneDeploy. Our platform recently hit an important benchmark: 30 million acres mapped. In one year’s time, our global presence has tripled.

This past year, more than 30,000 users put DroneDeploy to work creating the largest drone data repository — now with over 400,000 maps of job sites, farms, and structures. Our growth is a testament to the growing community of commercial drone users.


With 30 million acres of aerial data under our belts, we are excited to release our fourth Commercial Drone Industry Trends Report. The latest report comes packed with data and insights into the state of the drone industry. It covers drone hardware and software trends, and highlights how professionals in sectors like agriculture, construction, and real estate use drone data around the world on a daily basis.

Read on to explore several highlights from the report, or download your copy here.

The Construction Industry is the Fastest Growing Adopter of Commercial Drones

Construction is currently the fastest growing sector — surging 239% in the last year — and is now the top industry using DroneDeploy. Builders deploy drones on job sites around the world to increase safety, document and understand site progress, and identify potential issues before they become costly.


UAVs are Now an Everyday Tool on More Than 400,000 Job Sites

Customers use DroneDeploy on more than 400,000 job sites around the world. Leading the charge are the construction, agriculture, and real estate sectors. We continue to build industry-leading tools such as Live Map, Progress Photos, and Drone on Demand to help these segments grow even further.

DroneDeploy’s software has been used on more than 400,000 job sites worldwide.

DroneDeploy Customers Create Hundreds of Real-Time Live Maps Each Day

Recent advancements in cameras, edge computing, and mobile hardware processing unlocked new possibilities for drone technology this year. The ability to produce real-time time drone maps is now a reality with Live Map. Live Map stitches aerial imagery as a DJI drone flies, and 60% of real-time maps made are hard to differentiate from cloud-processed data sets. Despite being released just three months ago, 10% of all maps made with DroneDeploy are real-time Live Maps.

AI and Machine Learning Pave the Way for Faster Workflows and Automation

AI and machine learning algorithms help tame large datasets and make it possible to digest massive amounts of information quickly. This is paramount as drone technology adapts to manage the influx of millions of drones and the data they create.

Using machine learning algorithms, our latest tools help customers quickly identify ground control points.

DroneDeploy has the world’s largest drone data repository with almost 100 million aerial images. This data helps us create tools to automate workflows. Tools like automatic ground control points and Roof Report deliver accuracy within the 1% range. Our new ground control point processing tool automatically detects GCP targets so that accurate maps can be made in minutes, not hours. To build this tool, over 150,000 images of GCP targets were analyzed.

World’s First Drone App Market Grows 150%

DroneDeploy’s App Market has more than doubled in size in the last year. Over 2,000 developers have signed up with DroneDeploy, and so far 50 new tools have been introduced across ten industries. There has also been more than 120,000 app installs — representing a 445% increase in 2017.

DroneDeploy’s App Market has now grown to 80 apps serving 10 industries.

Enterprises Embrace Drones at Scale

We’ve seen a 5X increase in enterprise customer growth since 2016. Drone adoption at large companies is currently growing at a pace of 20% every month. As a result, the average size of an enterprise drone team grew to 5 pilots. The growth of drone teams has translated into larger drone deployments across companies as UAVs become the go-to tool for aerial data collection. There are currently more than 110,000 drones registered with the FAA — representing 2.5X growth from 2016. More than 600,000 drones are expected to be registered by 2022.

DroneDeploy’s base of enterprise customers and large deployments has increased 5X since 2016. This growth has translated into larger team deployments across companies, contributing to more FAA registered UAVs.

Companies Join Forces to Create a Global Partnership Network

Industry leaders partnered to remain competitive in a crowded market and provide integrated hardware and software products. DroneDeploy alone has announced partnerships with pilot networks like DroneBase and Uplift Data Partners, distribution and consulting services like SoftBank, Accenture, and CNH Global, and hardware leaders like DJI.

The Drone Industry Attracts Top Talent from Today’s Biggest Companies

The Drone Industry Attracts Top Talent from Today’s Biggest Companies

2017’s explosive drone industry growth parallels DroneDeploy’s rise. And top technology talent is starting to take notice as the industry matures. As well as joining forces with industry leaders, we recently hired executives from Salesforce, App Annie, Tableau, DemandBase, and Coremetrics.

These are just a few of the highlights from the report. To learn more about the skyrocketing growth of the commercial industry, and get insights into the applications of drone data in the world’s largest industries, download a free copy of our 2018 Commercial Drone Industry Trends Report.

Where to Learn More

  • Learn more about these industry trends and get a better idea about where drone technology is headed in our upcoming webinar. Save your seat.
  • Curious what we think is in store for the commercial drone industry this year? Read our top 8 predictions for 2018.
  • Want to comb through last year’s report to compare the data? Download 2017’s industry trends report here.

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