This report evaluates the market opportunity for wireless video systems in small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAV) within the commercial, military, and civil markets. While a great deal of attention is given to the still developing market for autonomous sUAV deliveries, wireless video is already having an impact on those companies and operators using these devices to capture new and existing data more efficiently. Wireless video within the sUAV space is divided between analog, digital (proprietary and Wi-Fi), and mobile broadband. While each has its pros and cons, digital is becoming the predominant connection with mobile broadband standing in the wings as future network upgrades (e.g., 5G) and regulatory barriers ease (e.g., no line of sight).
As the regulatory environment becomes increasingly favorable, the breadth of sUAV activities and its implementation will expand in kind. Early use cases have favored photography and filming but visual inspections as a general function is expected to gain significant traction in the coming years. While forecasts for this market can vary quite widely (regulatory issues remain a moving target) the overall opportunity and potential to transform how companies operate presents tremendous opportunity as existing barriers come down.