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2022's biggest industries for drones: energy, construction, agriculture

Published by Josh Spires on 10 June, 2022, updated on 28 July, 2023.


Drone research company Drone Industry Insights has released its latest round of research on the current state of the commercial drone market. In its findings it pointed out the top three drone industries as of April 2022.

The top three industries are energy, construction, and agriculture out of a total of 17 listed below.

  • Agriculture
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Construction
  • Cargo, Courier Services, Intralogistics & Warehousing
  • Energy
  • Educational, Scientific & Technical Services
  • Health Care & Disaster Relief
  • Information & Motion Pictures
  • Insurance
  • Mining & Quarrying
  • Public Administration
  • Public Emergency Services
  • Real Estate & Industrial Plants
  • Safety & Security
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation Infrastructure & Maintenance
  • Waste Management & Remediation Services


Main reasons for using drones:

  • Increased safety
  • Reduced downtime
  • Lowered cost

The largest of the three industries is energy at 14%, meaning 14% of all drone applications take place within the energy industry. The energy industry covers oil and gas extraction, oil and gas distribution, power generation and distribution, and water, sewage, and other systems.

Most drone usage in the energy industry comes from inspections, which happens to be the second highest drone application as of April 2022. Companies looking at getting drones often investigate inspections first, due to the relatively easy setup process and time needed to get actionable data.

Companies falling into the energy industry also have a massive amount of assets that can be inspected using drones for cheaper and faster than humans can, including pipelines, solar panels, sewage systems, nuclear reactors, wind turbines, and oil storage tanks.


Main reasons for using drones:

  • Increased time efficiency
  • Reduced cost
  • Improved data quality

The second highest industry is construction at 12%, meaning 12% of all drone applications take place within in the construction industry. The construction industry covers the construction of buildings and heavy and civil engineering construction projects.

Not far behind energy, the construction industry has taken up the use of drones quickly with surveying, mapping, and inspections often being the application involved. Due to the size of heavy and civil engineering projects drones are often used to inspect areas of interest, survey the land before and during construction, and map the construction area throughout the process.


Main reasons for using drones:

  • Higher data coverage and quality
  • Increased efficiency
  • Faster response to data

The smallest of the three is agriculture at 9%, meaning 9% of all drone applications take place within the construction industry. The agriculture industry covers animal production, crop production, fishing/hunting, and forestry.

The biggest use of drones in this industry would come out of crop production with multispectral mapping being a major application allowing farmers to gain better insight over their crops at a much faster rate than previously achievable allowing for proactive decisions to be made rather than reactive.

 Source: The Drone Girl & DroneII

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