Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG 2015

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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19 unmanned systems inside ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. September/October 2015 grow to roughly $4.5 billion by 2020, he said. But that hobby market is actually swirling with for-profit companies using small UAS, he pointed out. Some 60 percent of the more than 1,000 Section 333 exemptions for commercial operations given out so far by the FAA, he said, have gone to companies that use DJI aircraft as their platforms. "So you can't say the hobby market is not part of the commercial market," Blades told the audience. If you take the small aircraft into account, he said, the nondefense market will eclipse the mili- tary market in the next five years—and that is just for UAS platforms and sensors, not services. "Take that hobby market piece and put it on top of the commercial market piece—by 2020 it sur- passes the military market." Blades told attendees. The Right Tools for the Job A search for established defense UAS platforms within the roughly 3,000 Section 333 applica- tions submitted to the FAA show that Lockheed Martin's Indago quadcopter and the AeroViron- ment Puma, a hand-launched, fixed-wing UAS, are the most popular so far among commercial operators. These platforms, however, are seldom intended to be the companies' only flight option. Most of the nearly dozen firms identified as choosing a military-pedigreed UAS are selecting it as one of a wide inventory of unmanned aircraft, sometimes a dozen different platforms, giving them the abil- ity to tailor their flights to each job at hand. The Indago platform was developed by Lock- heed Martin and Utah-based Procerus, a firm Lockheed bought in 2012. Procerus makes the popular Kestrel autopilot, which has a number of features including visual tracking. Though the In- dago has GPS and inertial sensors—the no-GPS- needed visual-tracking technology enables the UAS to follow a target visually, or fix on a point and use it for guidance. foothold The number of Section 333 exemptions granted by the Federal Aviation Administration as of August 14, 2015, according to an FAA spokesman. The agency still had approximately 1,500 more applications to consider. 1,200 + The Indago quadcopter has been used for fi re fi ghting in Australia. Source: Michael Blades, Senior Industry Analyst, Aerospace & Defense, Frost & Sullivan BY THE NUMBERS The global market for commercial and hobby unmanned aircraft and sensors is expected to surpass the military market after 2020. The market for military hardware should reach $11.6 billion that year, commercial $6.5 billion and recreational $4.5 billion.

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