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New Transforma Insights forecast predicts 47 million connected drones globally in 2030

APR 16, 2021
region: ALL sector: ALL Internet of ThingsHyperconnectivityAutonomous Robotic Systems

The Unmanned Aquatic & Aerial Vehicle market will generate USD10 billion in IoT revenue, with a growing importance for cellular and satellite connectivity as non-consumer use cases grow.

Transforma Insights today published an expansion and update to its forecast for the Unmanned Aquatic & Aerial Vehicle market, as published in the TAM Connected Devices IoT Forecast Database. Today there are approximately 7.2 million connected drones worldwide, a figure that will increase to 47 million in 2030. The market is substantially dominated by North America (42%) and Europe (30%) today.

The majority of devices (67%) today are consumer, with government (including military) accounting for 15%. By 2030 consumer devices will be in the minority, representing just 45% of devices and government will have increased to 19%. Enterprise use will have grown substantially, from 18% to 36% of installed devices.


Most drones fall into the ‘Very Small’ (i.e. <0.25kg) category, explaining the dominance of the consumer category overall, which tends to favour these cheaper devices. There are, however, increasing numbers of military and enterprise use cases. The medium UAV category (>25kg but smaller than a full-sized aeroplane) will grow substantially, from 2% of the market to 8% of the market, driven in large part by the growth in delivery drones.

The proportion of drones that ship with wide area network connectivity, either cellular or satellite will increase from 8% in 2020 to 20% in 2030.

Revenue will grow from USD386 million in 2020 to USD10 billion in 2030. Please note, that Transforma Insights does not count the total value of the drones themselves, just the connectivity module/modem, connectivity and services associated with delivering connected drone services. The latter dominates IoT drone revenue, accounting for the vast majority of revenue.

About the Report and the Forecast

The report can be accessed as part of a Corporate or Prime subscription to Transforma Insights. It serves principally to provide a summary and explanation of one element of the highly granular forecasts within the Transforma Insights’ Total Addressable Market (TAM) Forecast Database.

The TAM Forecast Database includes our IoT ‘Connected Things’ Forecast, which covers the period 2019 to 2030 for Revenue Generating Units (RGUs), connected devices, annual shipments and revenue across 20 use cases, 69 application groups (of which Unmanned Aquatic & Aerial Vehicles is one), 20 vertical sectors and 198 countries. Device and shipment forecasts include technology splits between cellular (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G), LPWA (5G mMTC and non-mMTC), satellite, short-range and other. Revenue splits between hardware (module and non-module) and recurring (connectivity and service wrap).

Our main IoT forecast provides splits based on highest embedded technology. Additionally our ‘hyperconnectivity’ forecasts provide forecasts for all embedded technology to illustrate all technologies supported by any given use case or application. Further details from the press release in January 2021.