TOP20 Drone Types in the US 2015

TOP20 registered Drone Types in the US

Today, nobody doubts the monopoly position of the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI when it comes to the number of certified drones.

So, how exciting can a drone type ranking be then? Well, it will be proof of what everyone knows anyway – but the numbers are quite impressive. DJI occupies nine of the top 10 ranks – with around 4200 commercially operated units among the TOP20 – only interrupted by the SenseFly ebee ranked eighth.


Drone Type Ranking: Manufacturer

It is interesting to see the market changes towards professional applications.

Last year was the trial and error phase of drone operation, when everyone holding a Phantom Drone in his hands became a ‘professional service provider’ and started his own business with it.

Today you see the rise of professional equipment because more and more demanding applications require it. You see semi-professional material like the Phantom 3 Advanced (+12), the Phantom 3 Professional (+4) as well as more advanced drones like the 3D Robotics Solo (+7) or the Aeyron SkyRanger (+2) moving up the ranks and supersede less qualified platforms.

Simply keeping the rank seems to be a real challenge in this fast moving and dynamic market. However, platforms like the DJI Inspire 1, SenseFly ebee or the 3D Robotics Iris+ are steadily growing with the market and maintain their market position.


Drone Type Ranking Q4 2015

Drone Market Size

To demonstrate the market growth over the last 3 months we added the numbers of certified platforms in Q3 2015. Only 3 months ago there were 2402 authorized platforms within the TOP20 – today the number is about 4600! This signifies the enormous growth of the drone market, not only in terms of drone sales and authorizations, but also regarding the offer of drone related services in the US.

This number could be even higher given the fact, that the American authorities have a limited throughput of 333 applications per month. What we are currently experiencing is a massive market pull that is decelerated by the authorities.

What’s next?

The reason to go through the 333 exemption process is to be able to fly commercially. We can presume that (per Dec 31th 2015) a total of 5761 platforms are out there to do commercial jobs, which is – compared to 133 counted drones in the beginning of 2015 – a gigantic growth rate. With the implementation of the FAA’s operation authorization process (CoA) we can expect nearly the same throughput at the authorities this year and therewith a similar growth rate.

The current ranking of drone types shows that the full potential of drone applications in specific industry sectors (especially B2B such as: Agriculture, Construction, Mining, etc.) has not yet unfolded. It is possible, that the increasingly professional platforms are currently used to explore the potential of specific industry applications. It will be interesting to see if multi-purpose platforms will be replaced by application-specific UAS and eventually establish in the TOP20.

By Kay for