Experts agree: The UAV market sector is expected to reach new altitudes of success in the business world, with many analysts predicting that the “worldwide sales of military and civilian drones will reach an estimated $89 billion over the next decade.”
As with the automobile and PC markets, there will probably be only a handful of hardware manufactures that emerge as the giants of the drone industry after the dust settles. If industry analysts’ predictions are to be believed California-based Aerovironment is the current front-runner and a safe bet for future successes in the UAS market.
In June, AeroVironment made domestic-drone history when its Puma UAV became the first domestic model to garner FAA approval for commercial use. The agency gave AeroVironment “permission to use a Puma drone to survey pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.”
As important as this flight was, it was hardly a coincidence; as research analyst Andrea James told CNBC that the company “provides the U.S. military with about 85 percent of its drones [and] right now that’s only about 15 percent of the revenue that the government spends on drones because [the Aerovironment vehicles] are small drones.”
In fact, there is a running joke in the (extremely frustrated) small unmanned aircraft systems community that in order for the FAA to certify a drone, it has to have Iraqi or Afghani dust in them.
Meanwhile on Wall Street, AeroVironment is primed to conquer the rough-and-tumble skies of corporate finance. On June 9, the stock scored as one of the top 10 NASDAQ stocks traded. And just last Thursday, the firm’s share price rose more than 13 percent on daily trading.
The surge stems from AeroVironment’s recent earnings report of 27 cents per share – four cents over analysts’ expectations. So far this year, the company’s revenue has shot up 35.8 percent.
So, whether or not you agree with the way in which the FAA is going about granting permission for commercial drone flights, it seems to be a safe bet to say Aerovironment is poised for success as the demand for commercial UAS continues to rise.