Where have drones come and where will they go? Wow. It’s been a busy year in the history of drones. There has been a significant increase in drone investments. There are many new entrants in the field and many mainstream companies are entering the market. Many said drones would be a fly-by-night fad that would come and go. But if you look at the stats, they’re pretty astounding. And there is no doubt that drones are here to stay.
There was a significant increase in consumer demand for drones this past holiday season. It made for a serious dent in the history of drones. According to FAA estimates, during the 2015 holiday season, $1 million in drones were sold. DJI took the lion’s share of the 1 million drones sold per year, which was an increase from the 20,000 sold last year. The 2016 drone race will include the following contenders: DJI, EHang, Parrot, and 3DR.
Parrot is the mini-drone market leader. They specialize in mobile app and safety integration. 3DR creates new applications for mining and construction. ZeroZero is a new entrant into the field after raising $25 million for it’s flying camera drone. This new company shows that there is a demand for new ideas and innovative drones. As new technologies come into the market, new drone companies will enter the field.
Although drone startups face significant challenges, there is a rapid growth in this new market. Some companies have been able to get their drone company startup funded with the help of a high-quality Kickstarter video and a working prototype, although this is difficult and has only been achieved be a few companies. Most new drone companies are taking longer than expected to get their product to market. This spring, Vantage Robotics will be shipping Snap Drone, their signature flying robot.
Many new consumer drone companies were formed this year. Most of these businesses are based in China and hope to take some of DJI’s market share, which is approximately 70 percent of the current drone market. Yuneec is the leading contender. They produce the Typhoon and Tornado series, which are considered high-quality drones. There are also several American companies that seek to enter the commercial drone space. Airwave and CyPhy lead the current pack, for new commercial drone startups.