American government spending on drones is expected to more than double in eight years, according to an American market research firm.
A report released by Ohio-based Freedonia Group predicts spending will leap from $100 million to $250 million by 2025 with federal spending alone accounting for $170 million in new UAV tech purchases.
“The state and local government market for drones is expected to quadruple to $40 million in 2020, outperforming federal government demand, but remaining extremely modest in size,” Freedonia analysts state.
The group forecasts that drone companies will ship more than 9,000 units by 2025. The Defense Department is expected to ramp up drone spending at a moderate pace, the group says, “due to tight budgets and a shift in focus to smaller, less expensive vehicles.”
As drone technology gets cheaper, county and municipal governments have reported an uptick in drone investment as a means to save money over manned aerial projects. Police, fire, and rescue agencies have demonstrated numerous ways drones save lives in the field, while other agencies, such as solid-waste and bridge inspection departments are also reaping cost and time savings.
- Last month, the Fredericksburg (Va.) police and fire departments jointly purchased two Autel X-Star Premium quadcopters to assist in search-and-rescue and suspect pursuit ops. “A drone allows you to cover a larger area than a search crew,” deputy fire chief Michael Jones told the Fredericksburg Star. “It’s already proven its worth.” The agencies have launched the drones to provide crowd planning before a major outdoor concert and to locate a missing person.
- Located just outside of Atlanta, the Gwinnett County Police Department deploys a DJIInspire 1 Model T600 to investigate traffic accidents and to help improve traffic flow in the freeway-heavy suburb.
- In Indiana, the Wayne Township Fire Department has been using drones for three years to evaluate fire-scene tactics. “Once we got the aircraft and we started using them, we immediately saw a huge benefit,” Cpt. Michael Pruitt told WTTV. “Being able to see 360 degrees around the home when you’re the person making the decision on how we’re going to fight that fire—having that ability is priceless.”
- Orange County (Fla.) Mayor Teresa Jacobs reports the local fire department has made a budget request of up to $100,000 to buy more thermal-imaging drones following the purchase of two recently. “I anticipate next year we will go much bigger, and there is new technology coming our way that will be incorporated through drones to make rescue of our citizens safer,” Jacobs said in an interview with WKMG News-6 Orlando.