The global agriculture drone market size was valued at USD 2.61 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 9.01 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 22.94%. Key factors contributing to the market growth include precision agriculture, technological advancements, automation & efficiency, cost reduction, and government support and regulations. As the agriculture industry strives for greater productivity, efficiency, and cost reduction, the demand for reliable and high-performance agriculture drones continues to rise.
Agriculture drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are small aircraft specially designed for agriculture purposes. These drones are equipped with various cameras, sensors, and other technologies that enable them to collect data, capture images, and perform specific agriculture-related tasks. These are designed to assist farmers, agronomists, and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector by providing valuable insights and facilitating decision-making processes. Further, the global agriculture drone market report covers the detailed industry analysis of agricultural drones. It includes various chapters such as value chain analysis, recent developments in the market, competitive landscape, an overview of the agriculture industry, and the emerging need for AI in the agriculture industry. The report also focuses on the factors contributing to the demand for agriculture drones. Urbanization, rising population, and per capita income are some factors discussed in the report. Apart from this, precision farming, cost-efficiency, the requirement for accurate data, and government support & their initiatives are also the supporting factors in propelling the agriculture drone market growth.
MARKET TRENDS & OPPORTUNITIES
Unleashing the Potential of Drone-As-A-Service
One significant trend emerging from the evolution of drone technology is the concept of “Drone-as-a-Service.” This term refers to the allocation of drone-based services that allow businesses to employ the power of aerial automation in infrastructure & drone hardware without investments. This trend is revolutionizing the way farmers approach their operations. This innovative concept involves the utilization of drones as a service rather than farmers owning and operating their fleet of drones. Under this model, specialized companies provide drone-based services to farmers, offering a range of capabilities tailored to their specific needs.
Shift Towards Smart Farming, Digital Farming, Precision Agriculture
Automation is a key aspect of smart farming and digital farming. Agriculture drones automate various traditionally performed tasks, saving time and reducing labor requirements. Drones can autonomously survey fields, collect data, and perform aerial spraying or seeding tasks. This automation allows farmers to focus on higher-value activities such as data analysis, decision-making, and implementing precision agriculture techniques. Agriculture drones' time and labor savings improve efficiency, productivity, and, ultimately, better crop quality.
High Initial Cost & Regulatory Barriers
Agriculture drones, especially those with advanced features and sensors, are expensive. The high cost of drones poses a barrier to entry for many farmers, particularly small-scale farmers or those operating in developing regions with limited financial resources. The cost includes the drone and additional software, training, and maintenance expenses. High costs limit adoption and slow agriculture drone market growth, particularly in price-sensitive markets.
INSIGHTS BY TYPE
The fixed-wing type segment dominates the global agriculture drone market. Fixed-wing drones have gained popularity in agriculture due to their ability to cover large areas efficiently. These drones offer longer flight times and carry heavier payloads, making them suitable for crop monitoring, mapping, and spraying tasks. However, fixed-wing drones cannot hover in place like multi-rotor drones, which limits their ability to perform tasks that require stationary flight.
INSIGHTS BY SENSOR TYPE
The global agriculture drone market is categorized into four types of sensors- RGB, multi-spectral, Thermal, and Lidar. Multi-spectral accounts for the highest share of the industry as this sensor technology allows the farmer to see further than the naked eye. The multiple bands of light captured by these sensors facilitate precise analysis of plant vigor, canopy cover, leaves, and other plant parts. Without multi-spectral data, early detection of plant diseases, weeds, and pests and calculating vegetative biomass would be nearly impossible. As a result of these factors, the demand for multi-spectral sensors in the agriculture drone market is expected to continue growing.
INSIGHTS BY PAYLOAD CAPACITY
The global agriculture drone market comprises a wide range of payload capacity of agriculture drones. Some drones fall into the range of below 10 KG, 10-30 KG, and the bigger drones fall into the above 30 KG category. Agriculture drones with below 10 KG payload capacity held the highest share in the industry in 2022 but are likely to grow steadily during the forecast period. Drones with a payload capacity below 10 kg are typically used for small-scale agriculture operations and tasks that do not require heavy payloads. They are suitable for capturing detailed imagery of crops, detecting plant health issues, and generating accurate maps of fields.
INSIGHTS BY OPERATION MODE
The remote control operation mode held the largest global agriculture drone market share in 2022. In this mode, operators have real-time control over the drone's flight path, payload release, and data collection. Remote control operation provides flexibility and adaptability, as operators can adjust the drone's movements and actions. However, autonomous drones account for the lowest share but are likely to boost the industry with expected revenue of around USD 3.80 billion by 2028. Further, remote control drones held a bigger share than autonomous ones due to convenience and safety.
INSIGHTS BY DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL
The global agriculture drone market is segmented into two distribution channels: direct and indirect. Indirect channels account for a bigger share than direct channels, as in this market, there are several retailers and intermediaries through which people can easily buy agriculture drones. Indirect distribution is favored by manufacturers who may not have extensive sales and distribution networks or prefer to leverage the expertise of established intermediaries.
North America accounted for the highest share of the global agriculture drone market, in 2022, due to large-scale farming operations and the availability of advanced technology. Further, the presence of key drone manufacturers and technology providers in the region has propelled the growth of drones. APAC region has also witnessed substantial growth in the agriculture drone market, primarily driven by countries such as China, Japan, and Australia. Due to increasing government initiatives and support, APAC will likely grow at the highest CAGR in the global agriculture drone market.
Europe is another significant market for agriculture drones. Countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are at the forefront of adopting advanced agriculture technologies. The region has a well-established agriculture sector, and farmers increasingly turn to drones to enhance productivity and resource efficiency. Moreover, due to increasing IoT expenditure and automation, favorable government policies, and significantly boosting the agriculture industries, Latin America is expected to witness a CAGR of over 25% during the forecast period.
The global agriculture drone market is highly competitive and diverse, with the presence of numerous established players as well as new entrants. Major global agriculture drone market players include DJI, Parrot SA, PrecisionHawk, Trimble Inc., AeroVironment Inc., Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., and AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. These players occupy a significant industry share and are constantly engaged in mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, and collaborations to strengthen their market position.
In addition, these companies focus on developing new products and technologies to cater to the evolving needs and demands of farmers and agriculture professionals. Other key players in the agriculture drone market include senseFly (Switzerland), SST Development Group (US), FUTURISM TECHNOLOGIES (US), DroneDeploy (US), Delair (France), HoneyComb (US), Blue River Technology (US), Agribotix (US), and CropX (US), among others. These companies also invest in research and development activities to introduce innovative solutions for precision agriculture. Competitors in the market focus on continuous product innovation to stay ahead of the competition. They invest in research and development activities to improve drone performance, enhance data collection capabilities, and integrate advanced technologies. For example, companies work on developing drones with higher-resolution cameras, improved flight stability, longer battery life, and advanced data analytics features.