The global market for UAS traffic management (UTM) services will be worth USD517 million between 2018 and 2022, according to a new study “The Market for UAV Traffic Management Services” published by Unmanned Airspace. The study includes a global view of UTM development plans, a country-by-country analysis of commercial drone operations, a report on UTM financing options and a review of UTM technology programmes and business opportunities for UTM service providers, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and other industry stakeholders. UTM market forecasts are published by value, per year, per region of the world.
“We will see the first UTM service derived revenues generated next year,” says Philip Butterworth-Hayes, the main author of the report. “But in the first year the market will be modest to say the least – around $30 million for initial services such as the provision of aeronautical data and authorisation of flights into controlled airspace.”
“But thereafter the global market will develop quite quickly as States and ANSPs race to get their preliminary UTM systems in place. The clearest and potentially most lucrative market opportunity in the near-term will be the UAS Service Supplier role(s) in the USA, charging fees for services to cover costs per flight, per month or annually. But before then, if current schedules hold, there will be UTM services available in Singapore, Dubai, Belgium, Italy and the UK. The UK has a particularly pioneering UTM development programme in the pipeline, with NATS planning to deliver drone traffic management services two years ahead of the European Union’s strategic U-Space programme.”
But the business models still have to be worked out and will depend on how commercial drone operations are developed, says the study. “For many governments the prospect of small drones delivering packages to individual households and offices in city-centres is a non-starter,” says Butterworth-Hayes. “There are just too many issues around privacy, safety and environmental protection to consider. Far more likely will be the appearance of large bulk-carrying drones flying freight to regional distribution centres with the last mile deliveries taking place by more traditional means.”