On the cusp of AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL 2017 in Dallas, there are perceptible shifts taking place that – over time – will positively alter commercial UAS market dynamics.
Systems of Systems:
The industrial portions of commercial UAS markets are establishing themselves by assembling “art-of-the-possible” systems and optimizing these systems on the fly for specific vertical markets. There are bottlenecks from collection to processing to delivery, and these weaknesses are being worked with the desired end states being increased mission-capable rates and time to information.
“Frankenstein” has been the pejorative nickname foisted upon many of these systems, taking the best consumer/commercially-available drone(s), processing and analysis software and dissemination to the ultimate end users. As more “patient” investment flows to establishing DaaS companies we’ll see a situation where bottleneck problems from capture to delivery are solved. This will include data processing, algorithm development, and a close tie into the software to facilitate the “middle” between capture, processing, exploitation and Delivery (the DoD PED process).
The ideal situation to arise will see requirements-driven, custom systems developed for moneyed vertical markets end users in utilities, oil & gas, forestry, and others.
“The best way to change their behavior is to take their money away,” said a contact when talking about how to open traditionally closed industrial aerospace systems. Fear is a great motivator, however, what we’ll increasingly see is an opening of commercial/industrial UAS architectures due to increasing market opportunity rather than threats to a business model’s survival.
Over time, this will result in more modular, open-architected commercial/industrial systems. This is important and will drive more rapid technological and capability upgrades into existing systems. It will also create situations where technological obsolescence is mitigated; it’s simply easier to incorporate new sensors, software, and other systems elements.
There will be a market-based demand pull for more open systems, and this will drive innovation to this market space that has in some cases sat idle due to market-access concerns. An opening of commercial UAS systems will coincide with incremental and expanding access to the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS), and this will entice aircraft-electronics companies to invest in sensing, communications and security products for larger commercial-drone classes.
So, the commercial/industrial UAS marketplace is beginning to find its voice and place demands upon hardware and subsystems manufacturers for higher reliability and degrees of openness. It’s advantageous that these developments are market-driven, and will enable the industry to learn, adapt and create air vehicles, avionics, sensors, software and data more efficiently within a market-based cadence.
If you’re at XPONENTIAL in Dallas, TX please stop by the Velocity Group booth (No. 407). We’d love to meet you and talk about your design, prototyping and manufacturing challenges.
Not sure where you or your company fits in the commercial drone market space? Feel free to “buzz the tower.” Contact us, today!