Small UAVs as the name suggests are miniature technologies that are typically man-portable. Miniature UAVs vary in size ranging from micro air vehicles to nano air vehicles. They are a class of man-portable air-defense technologies that are used as a threat to low flying aircraft.
The small UAV market is segmented based on the weight and size of the technology concerned. In Canada, small UAVs are quantified as systems less than 2 Kg. While in the US small UAVs account for systems with a weight of less than 25 Kgs. According to UE’s SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Air Management Rules, the weight of small UAVs was quantified as less than 25 Kgs. While the UK’s CAA quantified small UAVs as systems with weight less than 20 Kgs
The overall market for small UAVs is segmented by Region, Wing Type, Size, and Application. The regional segmentation for this market covers geographic locations including North America, Europe, APAC, the Middle East, and the RoW. The Wing type categorization for this market includes Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing based UAVs. While, the application-based segmentation for this market entails Military and Law Enforcement, as well as Civil and Commercial. The size-based segmentation for this market ranges across micro, mini, and nanosystems.
One of the key drivers for this market is the increased investment within the small UAVs vertical. The growth in defense procurement of drones is anticipated to be one of the key factors that account for the growth of this market. The growing application of small UAVs in segments including aerial photography, 3D mapping, surveying, as well as oil and gas pipeline monitoring among others is anticipated to drive the value chain growth for this market.
Growing R&D investment for surveillance-based applications in the small UAVs market is a factor that is expected to boost the market growth dynamics. The research institution named Massachusetts Institute of Technology went on to develop a honeybee-sized drone featuring a new navigation chip. The small drone can process complex images, i.e. it can process up to 171 frames per second. The commercial use of small UAVs is another factor that is anticipated to boost the growth dynamics for this segment. The expanding value chain for this market into domains like agriculture, food, and beverage, as well as product manufacturing, is expected to drive market growth. Medical institutions, as well as hospitals, are also considering the use of UAVs in applications including the delivery of small packages.
On studying the overall market for UAVs, the key raw material used for the construction of this technology is seen to be composites. The cost of raw materials is one of the key factors that hinder the market growth for this segment. However, the increased usage of technologies like 3D printing to produce components for drones is anticipated to drive the market growth for this vertical. Technologies like additive manufacturing are expected to redefine the overall drone vertical. The assembly time and the labor costs incurred can be reduced via the use of this technology.