DRONELIFE attended The Commercial UAV Show in London on November 14-15, 2018. It was a great show full of new technology and new ideas for the drone industry. We asked 3 industry leaders for their perspective on the European market for drones – their answers may surprise you.
Patrick Thevoz, co-founder and CEO of Swiss-based Flyability, is running a truly global business. Their collision-tolerant Elios drone is used to access spaces that are generally considered inaccessible: from shipping containers in South America to industrial plants in Europe Elios is used in multiple verticals. “We are pioneers and leaders in the indoor inspection space with applications in mining, oil and gas, power and water, public safety, and chemicals,” says Thevoz.
The End of the Hype Curve?
Thevoz says that the industry was still tentative in 2018 – but enterprise projects are beginning to scale. “We are at the end of the hype curve in 2018, which has not been a great growth year,” says Thevoz. “But we are now seeing, and being party to, larger implementation plans with enterprise clients that will come into effect in 2019.”
“The industry as a whole is at a ‘crossing the chasm’ type of moment,” Thevoz comments. “We are leaving the phase where there may be one or two smaller implementations that are proof of concepts, or solve one or two business problems, to discussions with more very senior level executives about making drones part of much more mature business processes.”
Omid Maddah, Marketing and Communications Manager at manufacturer Yuneec, agrees that Europe is now ready to fully engage with the drone market. From their beginnings as a provider of primarily recreational drones, Yuneec has expanded fully into the commercial market. In Europe, they are “localized” – with offices in the UK, France, Poland, and other locations to help communicate, solve problems, and provide after sales services for clients.
“Europe is ready to to adopt drone technologies in their ecosystems,” says Maddah. “Two years ago it was not clear that drones provided a clear solution: but now the technology has really been proven.”
Already There and Moving Forward
Thomson says that the market is further along than people may think – and that many European companies were at the forefront of the industry.
“North America is the largest market with the EU as a close second,” says Thomson. “Similar to the US, the UK and France are early adopters of drone technologies. Advances on the regulatory side are allowing advances in the technology, and allowing users to push the boundaries of what drone technologies can do.”
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