Meet the other industry that profits when the drone industry thrives
When the drone industry thrives, so does another industry: the anti-drone industry. And one drone detection and security company within that industry just hit a major milestone: 1,000 Dedrone sensors have been sold.
San Francisco-based, self-described “smart airspace security” company Dedrone in June 2021 announced that it had reached a milestone of 1,000 Dedrone sensors sold worldwide. The Dedrone sensors were sold to clients across 33 different countries, and are designed to detect, identify, and locates nearly 250 drone types, including DJI, Autel, Parrot, Yuneec drones.
By using machine-learning and AI validation, Dedrone can detect the specific types of drones in the air. In countries where it’s legal (which is not the U.S.) Dedrone can also mitigate rogue drones while they’re in the air.
Other anti-drone companies perform similar work to Dedrone. In general, they build products such as jamming devices or tracking software to stop drones from flying in certain areas (usually areas owned by those anti-drone companies’ customers). Typically, the anti-drone company provides either detection systems or interdiction systems (or a combination of the two).
The drone industry is growing, and so is this other industry
It’s still somewhat up for debate whether or not COVID-19 helped or hurt the drone industry. Especially in the early days of COVID, the industry struggled. According to the May 2020 Drone Industry Barometer, just 15% of drone companies said they saw an increase for demand in drones. But 43% of companies experienced a drop in demand. That changed in the coming months though. Coronavirus provided an opportunity for drone delivery, to provide everything from PPE for medical providers to at-home coronavirus test kits. Additionally, drone hardware sales got a boost from COVID-19.
And Dedrone said it’s clear that the drone industry is certainly booming in this post-COVID world. Among the reasons why:
- COVID created opportunities for drones to prove their worth in fields like last-mile delivery, and doing jobs that allow people to remain at home or socially distant such as infrastructure inspection and surveillance.
- Drones have gotten cheaper over the past year (for example, the 2021 launch of the DJI Air 2S was huge for the photography industry given the camera quality and sub-$1,000 price tag).
- Drones can carry bigger payloads and fly faster, which means there are more jobs that drones can do.
- Government regulations — though it may seen counter-intuitive — have increased drone use by more clearly defining how drones can legally fly.
But Dedrone says more productive drones opens the doors for more disruptive drones too. Fire departments can’t fight fires from the air when drones are flying nearby. Even Apple has had rogue drones flying over its property. And don’t forget that 2018 viral video of a drone flying near a Frontier airplane in Vegas.
The latest from Dedrone
There’s tons of revenue growth in the broader drone industry. And accordingly, Dedrone told the Drone Girl that — besides the Dedrone sensors milestone — its own revenue growth exceeded 250% revenue growth year-over-year. Its customers primarily consists of industries including defense and homeland security, critical infrastructure, airports, correctional facilities and corporate enterprises. Notable it provides airspace security to four of the G7 nation governments, including the United States Department of Defense.
It also provides security for major sporting and entertainment events. This summer, the company started working with Preakness Stakes, which is a major American thoroughbred horse race and the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, to support the event’s new airspace security initiative. Through the partnership, Preakness Stakes and Dedrone worked with the security team from 1/ST and the Maryland Jockey Club, owners of Pimlico Race Course, in the weeks leading up to the event for a pre-event threat assessment. On multiple occasions before race day, unauthorized drone pilots were detected and located, with Dedrone enabling security teams to respond to potential threats in real-time. By race day, zero drone sightings were reported.
Learn more: Dedrone’s DroneTracker 4.1 can track and identify your drone in flight
The broader counter-drone market
And it’s not just Dedrone. Research from German-based drone analytics firm Drone Industry Insights conducted at the end of 2020 indicates the counter-drone market could be worth $6.6 billion by 2024. Other notable companies developing products for the anti-drone tech space include DroneShield and Blackberry; major aviation players and defense contractors Raytheon, Boeing and Airbus; and even the Department of Defense.
Of course, the drone industry isn’t necessarily opposed to the anti-drone industry. Take the 2018 holiday season, when holiday travelers in the U.K. got hit hard due to an unprecedented airport shutdown that many believe was caused by a rogue drone flying near London’s Gatwick airport in the days ahead of Christmas 2019. Many drone industry advocates say that more counter-drone tech could stop bad actors who give a bad name to the drone industry.
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