Agricultural Drones Market is emerging as a profitable industry under the commercial sector. These products assist farmers in providing soil and crop data by taking pictures for assisting in crop management and adding components such as navigation system, GPS, and GIS benefit UAVs for improved maneuvering.
Global Agricultural Drones Market is estimated to cross USD 1 billion by 2024 with the shipments exceeding 200 units. Increasing usage of drones for agricultural purpose and rising funding for UAV manufacturers are fueling the demand for agricultural drones market. Precision farming initiatives and increasing automation will further stimulate the industry growth during the forecast period.
These UAVs facilitate farmers with aerial cameras for crop monitoring, soil & field analysis, and health assessment of the yield and irrigation assistance. These pros are expected to increase the product adoption among the farmers in the coming years. Farm equipment manufacturers are including the digitalization of farms by providing various features such as GPS, geomapping, satellite imagery, and automated systems. This increasing adoption of precision agriculture will stimulate the demand for UAVs in agriculture.
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The companies are investing in UAVs to capture the business early with an enhanced product portfolio. For instance, DuPont invested in drone technology provider PrecisionHawk to include drone technology in its portfolio. The companies are exploring value-added services other than drone manufacturing and crop spraying. The value-added services include data collection, farm management, training, and leasing of UAVs. Higher purchase cost, limited fly time & flight range, and weather dependency are some of the challenges faced by agricultural drones market.
Hardware accounted for the majority of agricultural drones market share in 2016, owing to high cost components such as fixed wing, multi-rotor, nano, and hybrid UAVs. Hybrid UAVs will will witness growth in the coming years, since they can perform long distance tasks along with hovering the agricultural fields. The economical visualization and navigation features will benefit the farmers in mapping and inspection. Software has an important role in the agricultural drones market for varied applications. Data analytics benefits agronomists and farmers in deciding fertilizer amount for spraying into fields.
Fixed wing drones use normal airplane like wing to provide lift. These are energy-efficient products that cover larger areas and longer distances and can loiter for a longer time by monitoring the particular zone. Higher flight time for fixed wind drones gives extended time for field monitoring to the farmers. Imaging software is important for processing images that are captured by the cameras mounted on the UAVs. This software also enables data analysis for the required fertilizer amount to be sprayed in the fields. The UAVs equipped with thermal, infrared, multi spectral, and hyperspectral cameras provide a better vision for farmers to protect their crop and plantation.
Asia Pacific agricultural drones market is fueled by technological advancements, government funding, and increasing adoption. In China, the government has included agricultural drones as national subsidized agricultural machinery to increase its adoption. As per the Ministry of Agriculture, China, the agricultural UAV ownership number crossed 4,800 in 2016, which is double the number in 2015. The other agriculture dominated countries in Asia Pacific are expected to contribute to the industry growth owing to the increasing usage of this product to improve the yield.