A study from Juniper Research shows that globally shipped consumer drones could reach more than 20m per annum.
The research suggests that usage has extended beyond the core base of hobbyists, supported by the drop in retail price and the increased functionality of the devices. It could also be due to the fact that most consumer drones now offer live streaming of photos and videos.
The study noted that companies such as DJU currently dominate the mid-priced and prosumer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) market, while an increasing number of companies are targeting the low-tiered sector. China based companies such as Syma Toys and Hubsan are moving out of the toy radio-controlled model aircraft industry and into the drones market.
However, the research also warned that drones’ use of unlicensed spectrum and reliance on GPS leaves them vulnerable to hackers, with their ability to take control of the UAV by intercepting unencrypted data feeds or commandeering the Wi-Fi connection.
It also noted the growing concerns around privacy in regards to drones. Dr Windsor Holden, co-author of the research, said: “Given drones’ capabilities to gather, store and disseminate images online, consumers are understandably uneasy that for example, they could hover over private property and take photographs without permission.”