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A California research firm expects the global market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, to nearly triple over the next decade, according to a report released this week.
BIS Research valued the UAV market at $25.6 billion worldwide last year but projects the segment will eclipse $70 billion in value by 2029.
The drone market grew significantly in recent years as drones decreased in size, gained longer battery lives, and more autonomous capabilities. The BIS report said that the use of UAVs would continue to grow as they transition beyond an operator's visual line-of-sight, but the forecast also suggests that incorporation of communications technologies will generate further growth.
"The market for commercial UAVs with satellite communication capabilities are expected to start by 2021, hence making it one of the fastest growing markets among all other end users," BIS industry analyst Shubhranshu Agarwal said in a statement.
The report also notes that operators there is an increasing demand to transfer large amounts of data in real time for both the commercial and defense sectors. This is particularly relevant to industries where drones could replace humans in potentially dangerous situations, such as inspections or oil and gas operations. Military users will likely be an exception with requirements for secured satellite data links.
Growth in the drone market has been limited by continued strict government regulations and potential vulnerabilities to cyber attacks, but Agarwal believes these regulatory restrictions will relax in coming years.