The 21-page analysis defines the market space and plots incremental access to the U.S. National Airspace (NAS) for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). “The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to work under a 2015 mandate to open up the NAS to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and the debate over timing, airspace access and commercial business is in full swing,” said G2 Solutions research director Ron Stearns.
“Given that imagery and video collection has been a core capability of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) UAS it’s a natural transition to leverage equivalent data sets in U.S. commercial markets.” The research plots growth in commercial UAS imagery and information revenues with incremental and expanding access to the NAS from 2015-2025. Existing users in civilian federal, state and local governments have a decades-long history of using aerial and satellite imagery as a basis for organizational decision making. This constitutes everything from land use and development to environmental protection and remediation. Purely commercial industries such as forestry, oil & gas and mineral exploration also have a long history of use for exploration, extraction, remediation and stewardship. Quasipublic industries such as utilities require imagery and information for corridor/infrastructure management. There is an established market for imagery and information within the U.S., with estimates of between $4 billion to $6 billion in purchases of commercially-obtained imagery and information from aerial and space-based sensors. Companies such as General Atomics, Aeronautical Systems Incorporated and Northrop Grumman Corporation NYSE: NOC and others have flown systems on their UAVs intended to satisfy the FAA’s sense-and-avoid (SAA) mandate in order for UAVs to gain more normalized access to the NAS. “Over time the debate will turn from anxiety over sense-and-avoid to procedural issues regarding the interplay of UAVs and other aircraft in the NAS,” Stearns added.