The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects the commercial drone market to triple in size between now and 2023, according to The Verge.
The agency released its forecast for the aviation world over the next two decades, and said the commercial drone market is growing faster than expected even as sales of non-commercial hobby drones begin to slow down.
The agency first called for mandatory online registration for drones in 2015, and since then, over 900,000 owners have registered non-commercial “model” drones. As prices stabilize, the FAA expects that sales of model drones will continue to slow. But for commercial drones, “the pace of monthly registration, almost 15,000, is nearly 3-times higher than the pace at which non-model aircraft owners registered their craft during the same time last year.”
The FAA expects the commercial drone market to continue to grow, with the number of commercial drones active by the end of year expected to surpass the agency’s own estimates last year for 2022.
The shift comes as companies ranging from Amazon to 7-Eleven have considered, or even experimented with, home deliveries by drone. Last month, a Baltimore hospital even used a drone to deliver an organ for transplant.
And, also in late April, the FAA gave the go-ahead for Google’s drone delivery company, Wing, to operate as an airline.
“Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States,” the company said in a statement.
The company was also approved last month to begin the world’s first commercial drone deliveries in Australia.
Google’s Wing and Amazon have been competing to launch drone deliveries. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been discussing drone deliveries since 2013. According to Bezos, the drones would be able to deliver items weighing up to five pounds, which would include 85 percent of the company’s deliveries.
According to the recent FAA report, as drones continue to “become operationally more efficient and safe, battery life expands, and integration continues, new business models will begin to develop.”
However, they also noted that the uptick has caused some problems, as both professional and hobby drones both share airspace with larger, crewed aircraft.