The surging popularity of racing drones is leading to the widescale adoption of consumer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), globally. Multi-rotor drones are being widely used for racing purposes due to their ability to perform under extreme conditions and the development of futuristic drones. Some of the most widely sold consumer UAVs are STORM Racing Drone Type A, TBS Gemini, and OFM Seeker 450 v2. Amongst these, TBS Gemini is a first-person view (FPV) racing drone with a hexacopter or six-rotor design. Two additional rotors increase its performance, by enhancing the stability and increasing the agility and speed.
Additionally, developments in technologies such as collision avoidance and geo-fencing are augmenting the demand for consumer UAVs in several parts of the world. Moreover, the increasing application of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in these drones is boosting their usage. Manufacturers are installing AR-technology-enabled high-definition (HD) cameras in these UAVs to reduce the reliance on tablets and laptops and facilitate easier operations. These technological developments are expected to increase the consumer drones market size from $389.7 million in 2015 to $2,196.9 million, at a massive CAGR of 28.1%.
To make these UAVs even better and more popular among the masses, manufacturers are using compact, lightweight sensors, such as infrared sensors, ultrasonic sensors, spectral sensors, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors, and stereoscopic sensors, for crop vigor analysis, collision avoidance, and 3D imaging infrared thermography. Due to these advantages, chip manufacturing companies, such as Intel Corporation and Qualcomm Inc., are using compact sensors to enhance co-production image processing and improve onboard imaging.
Consumer drones are already notably being used by hobbyists, prosumers, and photogrammetry professionals. Photogrammetry professionals need them to attain a three-dimensional (3D) model of real-world objects or landmasses, by mounting a camera on the drones to generate 3D maps, by utilizing ariel photogrammetry. Additionally, the increasing number of photogrammetry professionals and prosumers will boost the demand for consumer drones in the coming years. Moreover, the growing interest in photography as a hobby is also increasing the application of consumer UAVs.
These professionals use several types of consumer UAVs, including multi-rotor drones, fixed-wing drones, nano drones, and hybrid drones, to obtain the desired results. In recent years, the adoption of multi-rotor UAVs has increased significantly due to their easy maneuverability and compact design. Further, the demand for nano drones is surging in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and North American regions due to their high efficiency in photography and surveillance applications and portability.
During 2012–2015, North America adopted the highest number of consumer drones due to the high level of awareness among people regarding these platforms and evolution in technologies such as geo-fencing and collision avoidance. Furthermore, P&S Intelligence projects that the APAC consumer drones market will demonstrate the fastest growth in the coming years, on account of the escalating demand for compact UAVs in South Korea, China, and Japan. Japan has emerged as one of the largest manufacturers of consumer drones in the world, and it is investing heavily in research and development (R&D).
Thus, the technological evolution and growing demand for racing drones will characterize the consumer UAV niche in the near future.