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New Skyward Report Finds Drone Adoption Growing in Major U.S. Companies

BY Zacc Dukowitz
21 June 2018

Skyward recently released a report on the state of drone use in big businesses, which looked only at U.S. companies with $50 million or more in annual revenue.

The findings?

1 in 10 of the companies surveyed uses drones in some way, and 92% of those companies who use drones saw a positive ROI from their use of drones within one year.

92% is an impressive amount, especially after just one year—in bigger companies, new initiatives can often take much longer to show any real return on the initial investment, since it can take so long to implement and actually get projects up and running.

Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DR, wrote not too long ago about the third wave of the drone industry being upon us—and that wave represents commercial applications. The Skyward report serves to confirm Anderson’s statement, showing not only that drone adoption is growing at companies all over the U.S., but that drones are actually helping companies save money.


Key Findings from the Report

In addition to the findings covered above, here are some other key pieces of information revealed in the Skyward report.

Commercial drone adoption is growing quickly

According to those surveyed, commercial drone use will double in the near future, from 10% to almost 20%.


Construction & Engineering has the most drone adoption

Construction & Engineering represented 35% of all companies using drones in their operations, with Government closed behind at 24%.


Getting company buy-in for drones is still a challenge

Although it’s great to see that about half of respondents had positive things to say about their company’s reaction to using drones, you can see that we still have a ways to go (although we’d be curious to see what the responses were six months to a year later, after the value of the company’s drone program had been demonstrated).


Companies are outsourcing drone-related work

While many companies are creating in-house drone programs, 20% are still outsourcing the actual flying.


About the Skyward Report

According to Skyward, the focus of the report was on answering these questions:

  • What are the major trends in the commercial drone market?
  • How are companies using drone technology and are they realizing ROI?
  • What are their major challenges?

While we’ve seen reports about how the commercial drone industry is doing, or how much money commercial drone operators are making, this report from Skyward is one of the first comprehensive investigations into drone adoption at major corporations in the U.S.

If you’re a drone services provider, or someone advocating for a drone program inside your company, this report can help make your case.

If you’re making a pitch to, say, a construction company about why they should hire your drone services company to collect aerial data for them to track the location of their assets on site, or to do pre-construction planning, being able to point to the fact that 92% of companies surveyed in this report saw ROI within the first year could certainly be helpful.

It’s also helpful that you can point out that using drones in commercial operations is no longer really a new or risky idea, as it was a year or two ago. 10% of companies adopting drones may not quite make using a drone in commercial operations mainstream, but it certainly indicates a growing trend.

Want to download the full 35 page report? Find it here on the Skyward website.



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