The Worldwide Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems Industry is Expected to Reach $19.8 Billion by 2031

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Global Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Market

Global Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Market

Global Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Market

Dublin, Dec. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “2022/2023 World Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems Market Profile & Forecast” report has been added to’s offering.

The market for civil UAS promises to be one of the most dynamic aerospace growth sectors for the next decade, emerging from a $7.2 billion market (value of air vehicles) in 2022 to more than triple to $19.8 billion by 2031. That represents a 10.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in constant dollars.

Report Attribute


Forecast Period

2022 – 2031

Estimated Market Value (USD) in 2022

$7.2 Billion

Forecasted Market Value (USD) by 2031

$19.8 Billion

Compound Annual Growth Rate


Regions Covered


Over the next 10 years the market will total $139 billion. However, the analyst forecasts peak expansion for most sectors around 2029, as companies come to understand the requirements for UAS, the technology matures, and regulation stabilizes.

Many types will move more into a replacement cycle thereafter. The exception is in the United States, where regulatory changes expected toward the end of the forecast period drive higher demand, especially for larger systems, in several sectors.

Research Coverage

The World Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems Market Profile & Forecast annual sector study, authored by Jeremiah Gertler and Tom Zoretich, focused on lucrative business opportunities in the emerging civil government and commercial UAS market.

  • 10-Year Market Forecasts – Covering the overall market as well as segments of the business such as construction, agriculture, communications, energy, aerial photography and insurance. It also covers the civil government market including homeland security and law enforcement. (Spreadsheets are included)

  • Expert Analysis – A cogent outlook and rationale for what will be hot over the next decade.

  • Venture Capital – Analysis of the involvement of venture capital, firms attracting funds and ways investment is transforming the market.

  • Regulations – Differences in the ways regulations for civil/commercial UAS are being implemented worldwide and ways that is transforming the market and providing advantage.

  • Companies – An analysis of the strategies companies are using to position themselves in the market, including acquisitions, teaming and product development.

Uncrewed aerial systems have become increasingly common sights in skies around the world as more industries find uses for them, governments reshape regulations, and companies deliver increasingly advanced technologies and services. Civil government and commercial drone markets continue growing, moving from nascence to adolescence, as UAS prove their worth in numerous fields. Increasingly, though, sales growth appears to be moving from new customers to replacement for previous systems. At the same time, exogenous issues, like COVID-19 and the Ukraine war, are providing unexpected challenges to the UAS market.

On the plus side, China is reshaping the agricultural market with the rapid spread of subsidized UAS technology for spraying and imaging. Traditional aerospace and defense firms are competing to develop new solar-powered systems to provide low-cost internet as programs exploring integrating delivery drones into airspace gradually move from test to initial operation. And governments increasingly move to UAS solutions for challenging problems like border control and even aerial firefighting.

Just the United States has 865,505 commercial (37%) and recreational (63%) drones registered and 280,418 remote pilots certified as of late May 2022. Yet it is important to remember that these drones have been registered in the period since Part 107 went into effect in August 2016. Since the effective commercial life of prosumer drones is about a year and a half on average, many of those are no longer in the fleet, so the registrations can include multiple replacements for the same operator and task.

The Market

Although the consumer systems and commercial systems segments began the forecast period in the analyst’s 2020 study relatively close in annual production value of air vehicles at 42% and 55%, respectively, the latter segment will exhibit the fastest growth in the market. By the end of the analyst’s 10-year forecast, commercial systems will command 86% of the overall civil UAS market, while consumer systems will slip to 12% of air vehicle production value.

After years of delays, civil governments in the United States and Europe are getting serious about deploying UAS. Civil government drone spending promises to continue benefiting from concerns about border and maritime security in the United States and Europe. Peacekeeping operations for United Nations and other countries will further boost sales. In addition, public safety use for law enforcement and fire control is growing. And the regulatory restrictions that inhibit growth of the commercial US sector are less onerous and easier to be waived for government use.

The US Coast Guard and the European Maritime Safety Agency are purchasing UAS services and planning is underway for broader deployment of systems. The US Customs and Border Protection Agency has introduced a pilot program in small UAS.

The US federal government stands to be a market maker for “Blue sUAS,” UAS certified as secure and suitable replacements for Chinese-made drones that are being eliminated from federal agency fleets. The Department of Defense has certified 11 systems to carry this designation as of mid-2022.

Commercial markets are developing at very different rates around the world. Many companies are currently doing proof of concept work to creates the foundations for widespread deployment of drones, while waiting for regulatory regimes to enable that deployment. They are working to prove cost savings and make sure data flowing from UAS can be integrated into businesses’ workflow.

UAS use by construction, insurance and energy promises to grow quickly in coming years. Large enterprises are deploying fleets of systems. Agriculture, which is currently the largest market thanks to the value of unmanned spraying systems, will grow more slowly due to the currently depressed profitability of the sector and the diffuse nature of decision-making; it may slow most in those countries that are leading deployment, while being poised for explosive growth in markets like the United States that have not yet adopted such systems on a wide basis. Delivery promises to be a very large market but will develop first in narrow niches such as delivery to very remote areas such as islands or ships, or delivery of high-value, time-sensitive products such as medical supplies. It is unlikely that delivery US will be in operation two residential doors in very many areas before the end of the forecast period.

Initial development of the commercial market is so far based on inexpensive prosumer and mini-UAVs and will be much more price sensitive than the government market. Even local law enforcement agencies will be buying mainly prosumer and inexpensive mini systems rather than much costlier larger UAVs.

While the unit numbers of these UAVs purchased to serve the commercial market promise to be substantial, their value will be a small fraction of that of the costly, sophisticated systems that dominate the military market such as Global Hawk and Predator, or even of the higher end spraying systems and long endurance communications relay UAS.

As the worldwide industry develops, national and regional advantages are emerging.

The United States is the clear leader in analytics and the development of service offerings. Tremendous interest by technology leaders such as Intel Corp., Amazon, Facebook, Google, Sony, Verizon, Mitsubishi, General Electric, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung is adding to the speed of development by providing financing and an infusion of new technology and talent. Major technology firms such as Intel, Microsoft and Qualcomm are working to apply their technologies to making drones effective work tools.

In many cases, US companies’ analytical advantage in fields like infrastructure inspection or soil surveys has made them platform-agnostic. They can work with Chinese UAS as easily as American-made drones, and although numbers of mid-tier US startups like Harris Aerial are emerging to bring capability to niche markets, it’s not yet clear that the United States can or will be able to claim an advantage in hardware production.

China’s clear advantage is in manufacturing. The nation is seeking to expand from dominance in consumer UAS manufacturing to leadership in commercial UAS. Government and industry are working together to build their country’s market presence in agricultural and delivery drones, two of the largest potential sectors in the future. Yet other Chinese companies are working to move into drone production for specialized inspection areas such as powerlines and wind turbines. This upward evolution is moving some significant Chinese companies from markets they currently dominate into ones where other companies have established leading positions.

It is also creating some antibodies. Perhaps most notably, in February 2022 a group of US legislators introduced the “Countering CCP Drones Act,” which would put DJI on a list of companies “deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.” Prospects for the legislation are uncertain. In February 2022, the government of India banned the import of drones (while allowing the importation of drone components and unassembled units) to defend its domestic market.

Despite vocal support from the Japanese government, Japan is falling behind China. Japan emerged as an early leader in civil UAS development thanks to an unmanned agricultural spraying industry that dates back three decades. Japan’s most promising potential areas to play a role in the worldwide UAS industry come in agricultural spraying, smart construction work, and services. In each of those cases, Japan’s relative lack of manpower is driving national adoption of unmanned systems.

European UAS firms have fallen behind in this flurry of activity. Lacking the strong venture capital funding enjoyed by US firms and the large.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Executive Overview

2. Development of the Civil/Commercial UAS Industry

  • Emergence of the Commercial UAS Industry

  • COVID-19 Pandemic Intensifies Pressures to Consolidate

  • Technology Leaders Positioning Themselves for Industry Growth

  • Defense/Aerospace Companies Seeking Civil/Commercial UAS Market Position

  • Growing Recognition of the Need for Hybrid Hardware/Software/Data Analysis Companies

  • The Service Industry Draws Multinationals and Small Players

  • Rapid Growth but Profits Lag During Ramp-Up

  • Industry Structure Takes Shape

  • Moving Up the Value Chain

  • Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Acquisitions Driven by Multiple Factors

  • Solar-Powered Systems Began Acquisition Drive

3. US Civil Government Markets

4. International Civil Government Markets

5. Commercial/Consumer Markets

6. Civil UAS Company Profiles

  • Aerialtronics

  • Aerodyne Group

  • AeroVironment Inc.

  • AgEagle Aerial Systems

  • Airbus Defense & Space (formerly European Defense and Space Co.)

  • AirMap

  • Airobotics

  • Amazon.Com, Inc.

  • Altametris

  • AT&T

  • Aurora Flight Sciences (Boeing)

  • BAE Systems

  • Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.

  • The Boeing Co.

  • CAE Inc.

  • CACI International Inc.

  • Cape

  • China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC)

  • Chinese Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics

  • Clobotics

  • CyberHawk Innovations Ltd

  • Delair

  • Delta Drone

  • Denel

  • DJI Innovations

  • Donecle

  • Draganfly Innovations Inc.

  • Dragonfly Pictures, Inc.

  • DroneBase

  • DroneDeploy

  • Drone Volt

  • Elbit Systems Ltd.

  • Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science & Technology Co., Ltd.)

  • EMT Ingenieurgesellschaft

  • Facebook, Inc.

  • FLIR Systems, Inc.

  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI)

  • L3Harris Technologies

  • Honeywell International Inc.

  • Hyundai Motor Group

  • Intel Corp.

  • Insitu Inc.

  • Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.

  • Joby Aviation

  • Kaman Corp.

  • Kespry

  • Keystone Aerial Surveys


  • Korean Air Aerospace Business Division

  • Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica)

  • Leptron Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Inc.

  • Lockheed Martin Corp.

  • Lufthansa Aerial Services

  • Lufthansa Technik AG

  • Matternet

  • Microdrones GmbH

  • MDA

  • Micropilot

  • Microsoft Corp.

  • Northrop Grumman Corp.

  • Pablo Air

  • Parrot SA

  • PrecisionHawk Inc.

  • Prismatic Ltd.

  • Prodrone Co. Ltd

  • QinetiQ

  • Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

  • Rakuten

  • Safran

  • Raytheon Technologies Corp

  • Resolute ISR Inc.

  • Saab Group

  • Samsung

  • Schiebel Elektronische Geraete GmbH

  • SF Express

  • Shield AI

  • Sikorsky Aircraft Co. (now Part of Lockheed Martin Corp.)

  • Skycatch

  • Skydio

  • Sky-Futures

  • SkySpecs

  • Siemens Aktiengesellschaft

  • SkyDrop (formerly Flirtey)

  • ST Engineering

  • Sony (Aerosense)

  • Survey Copter

  • Swift Engineering

  • Tekever Group

  • Terra Drone

  • Textron Systems Unmanned Systems

  • Thales

  • Trimble Navigation

  • Uconsystem Co. Ltd.

  • UMS Skeldar

  • Unifly

  • Verity Studios AG

  • Verizon

  • Volansi Inc.

  • Volocopter

  • Wing (Alphabet, GoogleX)

  • XAG Co., Ltd. (formerly XAircraft)

  • Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.

  • Yuneec International

  • Zala Aero Group

  • Zero Zero Robotics

  • Zipline

For more information about this report visit


CONTACT: CONTACT: Laura Wood,Senior Press Manager [email protected] For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470 For U.S./ CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900


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