The global solar-powered UAV market is presumed to expand at 14.80% CAGR during the forecast period (2017-2023) owing to the improved flight range, asserts Market Research Future (MRFR). Solar powered unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs) or solar-powered drones are airborne vehicles that use solar energy for propulsion. They are remotely controlled through onboard computers or from the ground and are especially developed for defense requirements. UAVs are expanding their reach to scientific, commercial, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and other applications.
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Drivers and Restraints Impacting the Market:
Unnamed aerial vehicles are preferred for dangerous missions and offer attack capability for high-risk mission. Advantages of UAVs along with their ability to cater to a wide range of applications are likely to generate tremendous demand in the coming years. The UAV industry has been highly influenced by the copious changes in technology. While a few companies are utilizing this technology to develop UAVs with enhanced endurance and range for surveillance, others are focusing on using them to bema internet connectivity across the globe. Thus, there is a huge scope for UAVs in the future. Also, end-users are exploring new possibilities from using them to monitor glaciers in the polar regions to deliver goods, tackling refugee crisis, and others, thereby triggering the demand for solar-powered UAV.
On the flip side, there are certain factors which retard the market growth globally. Technical constraints, dissimilar laws, and restrictions prohibiting the adoption of aerial vehicles, and withdrawing of funds are some of the major factors likely to hamper the market growth in the coming years. Moreover, lack of trained professionals and pilots to operate such vehicles is anticipated to pose major challenges to the market growth across the globe.
The global solar-powered UAV market has been segmented on the basis of type, application, component, and region.
By mode of application, the global solar-powered UAV market has been segmented into commercial and defense. Among these, the defense segment accounted for the largest market share with 61.53% in 2016. The market was valued at USD 365.3 million and is estimated to register 13.96% CAGR during the review period. The growth is attributed to the employment of solar-powered UAVs in pollution observance, search and rescue operation, attack mission, disaster management, and communication applications. The commercial segment is also presumed to expand at a faster rate due to its use in surveillance and professional aerial photography, motion pictures filmmaking, data collection, anti-poaching activity, and several others.
By mode of type, the global solar-powered UAV market has been segmented into fixed-winged and other types. The fixed-winged segment accounts for the largest market share with 80.15% in 2016. The market touched USD 475.8 million and is presumed to register 14.60% CAGR during the review period.
By mode of component, the global solar-powered UAV market has been segmented into airframe, propulsion system, payload, and guidance navigation & control system. Among these, the propulsion component held the largest market share with 40.18% in 2016. The market is estimated to witness 14.21% CAGR during the assessment period.
Geographically, the solar-powered UAV market spans across four regions namely, Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Rest-of-the-World.
Among all the regions, North America held the largest market share with 34.90% in 2016. The market was valued at USD 207.2 million and is presumed to register 14.80% CAGR during the assessment period. The region leads the market in terms of technological advancements and expenditure and also has a large number of UAV deployments. The United States demand for solar-powered UAVs due to surveillance purposes and is also considered to be the largest manufacturer of unmanned systems. The U.S. dominates the market in this region due to high investment from NASA and Department of Defense.
UAVOS Inc., a company which specializes in unmanned solutions, has completed its flight test of the unmanned SAT-i aircraft powered by the sun. The UAV has been designed to perform aerial photography and monitoring during daylight hours. The unmanned aircraft has demonstrated high performance by successfully completing a non-stop 10-hour mission for aerial photography of the surface relief.
The major players operating the global market are Sunlight Photonics Inc. (U.S.), Airbus SE (France), Sunbirds (France), Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (U.S.), Thales Group (France), Facebook Inc. (U.S.), and AeroVironment Inc. (U.S.)
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