COVID-19 has had an impact on just about every industry in the world. Unfortunately, the drone industry falls under the same umbrella. Since February 2020, the coronavirus has severely affected drones. Initially, the drone owners panicked. They believed that their work cannot be done from home. Drone Conferences got wiped off the schedule and big drone players, such as GE Aviation and Airbus went through layoffs.
Degree of Affected Drones
Luckily for the drone industry, the bad news was short-lived. As they say “With every catastrophe, there is an opportunity”, similarly, we saw opportunities pour out for the drone enthusiasts in this pandemic. According to the Drone Industry Barometer 2021, users actually say that the pandemic has positively affected drones enthusiasts in the long-term.
“All of this could be a sign that companies found a way to adjust after a few months of 2020 so that in 2021 there would be less impact by the virus and lockdowns,” DII analysis
The biggest talking point regarding affected drones is the hardware sales. According to the Drone Hardware Sector Report (2021 – 2026), the hardware sales have risen by 135% in the last 18 months. Moreover, we have also seen Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that the drones can be used to deliver many substantial products as part of the social distancing activities.
Not only did the drone deliveries increase, but it also benefitted the business that used drones for this matter. Mockingbird Cafe, partnering with Wing company, said that drone delivery has contributed to 25% of their successful sales in this pandemic.
“Undoubtedly, the global health pandemic will likely continue to impact the affected drones industry, as demand for automation increases and consequently special permissions for various drone operations increase in number. Therefore, the true impact of coronavirus pandemic remains to be seen in the long term as the industry awaits further integration of drones into airspace, especially urban and suburban areas that are currently heavily restricted. Governmental investments into unmanned research projects and initiatives are increasing, as authorities are witnessing automation emerge as a tool for them to tackle 21st century challenges. Commercial drones, for the first time, had a chance to shine and they did not just live up to the expectations; they largely exceeded them.”