Global Trends of Unmanned Aerial Systems

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have become increasingly popular in recent years, and operators of the technology are constantly finding more practical and innovative uses. This is reflected by significant increases in research and innovation relating to UAS technologies as well as the diversity and sheer number of UAS platforms offered by manufacturers worldwide.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) maintains the Unmanned Systems & Robotics Database that captures a range of information on UAS platforms. In this analysis, Danish Technological Institute and AUVSI have cooperated in making a deep dive into the database to acquire a better understanding of the vast potential of UAS technology.

UAS technology has seen considerable development over the last decade and even more significant advances in the last two years. While early UAS applications were limited to military missions, academic research, and model airplane enthusiasts, they are now being used for several commercial applications, and have even found their way into the homes of consumers. In the United States (US) alone, over 100,000 remote pilot certificates have been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Figures from the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority show that the number of remote pilot certificates issued in Denmark doubled from approx. 14,000 in 2017 to more than 28,000 in 2018.

This report provides an overview of information on 2,185 UAS platforms across five markets based on AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems & Robotics Database.

The data extraction for this report is from November 2018 and only includes vehicles that are actively being manufactured, operated, or developed. The AUVSI dataset is the largest comprehensive and searchable database for all unmanned vehicles operating in the air, ground and maritime domains. Since 2010, the AUVSI team has been collecting information on every unmanned platform they could identify. Each platform is categorized by market(s) for which it is being applied, i.e., academic, civil, commercial, consumer, or military. AUVSI have also identified over 30 specific application areas for each vehicle in the database ranging from imaging to precision agriculture and search & rescue. This report analyzes platforms from nine of these application areas. Further detailed information for each platform is based on publicly available specifications released by the UAS manufacturers. These specifications are divided into two main categories, i.e., technologies and capacities.

The full report can be downloaded here.