The Drone Battery Market is poised for substantial growth, with a projected increase from USD 4.0 Billion in 2021 to USD 9.6 Billion by 2026, reflecting a robust CAGR of 19.0% from 2021 to 2026. This ascent is driven by the burgeoning utilization of drones in goods delivery within the transportation and logistics sector, opening lucrative opportunities for both established drone and drone component manufacturers and emerging market players. Key industry stakeholders are also intensively focused on developing drones with extended flight times, increased payload capacity, and cutting-edge technologies. Furthermore, the global e-commerce sector's expansion and its growing adoption of drones are expected to fuel demand for high-payload capacity hybrid drones, thereby stimulating the Drone Battery Industry's growth throughout the forecast period.
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Impact of COVID-19 on the Drone Battery Market
The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated both short-term disruptions and long-term structural shifts, resulting in sluggish growth in the e-commerce sector, particularly in new online categories like groceries and home care. This situation has led suppliers to embrace autonomous methods, such as drones and robots, for contactless goods delivery. Additionally, the rising demand for drones in healthcare applications has bolstered the drone battery market. Healthcare organizations are deploying drones for tasks including disinfectant spraying and the delivery of critical medical supplies, COVID-19 test kits, and samples, among other applications.
Akin to many industries, the energy storage sector is grappling with challenges, including manufacturing constraints, shipment delays, project development setbacks, and research and development hitches. Moreover, supply chain stakeholders are contending with significant challenges, exposing the market to short-term risks. Prominent lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery manufacturers in China have announced production delays, posing vulnerability to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that source batteries and raw materials from China. For instance, U.S.-based drone manufacturer Skydio has witnessed supply chain disruptions due to component manufacturing slowdowns, while China-based DJI, one of the world's largest drone manufacturers, faces disruptions in the supply chain of raw materials and drone components, leading to shipment delays.
Drone Battery Market Dynamics
Driver: Increasing Demand for Drones Across Various Applications
Drones are witnessing surging demand across a diverse array of applications, encompassing surveillance, inspection, defense, cinematography, and agriculture on a global scale. They have experienced significant uptake by defense forces for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) activities, combat operations, and battle damage assessment. Simultaneously, drones are being employed in agricultural contexts, including crop spraying, pest control, and crop inspection. Maritime security applications also embrace drone technology, particularly in combating maritime piracy. For example, the deployment of drones in patrolling pirate-prone areas has enhanced the identification and monitoring of suspicious vessels, thereby fortifying the protection of key shipping lanes. Drones offer law enforcement agencies swift, cost-effective, and safer surveillance capabilities, as evidenced by their use for crowd control, management, and surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Restraint: High Cost Associated with Energy-Dense Batteries
Energy-dense batteries, such as lithium-sulfur or lithium metal, are ideally suited for extended endurance missions due to their superior charge capacity compared to traditional batteries. Nevertheless, the costs associated with these advanced batteries remain relatively high, mainly owing to limited competition among manufacturers and the nascent stage of the technology's research and development. Consequently, the adoption rate of these technologies in the market is slow and limited, with the most advanced high-capacity batteries primarily utilized for technology demonstration missions or prototypes. Commercial and consumer adoption of these newer batteries is expected to remain restrained until cost-effectiveness is achieved.
Opportunity: Innovations in Smart Battery Technology
The proliferation of inexpensive microprocessors has enabled manufacturers like Shenzhen Grepow (China) and Maxell (Japan) to offer lithium-ion or polymer batteries featuring integrated battery management systems (BMS). These systems possess capabilities for charge and discharge management, temperature management, short-circuit management, data logging, and other functions. These functionalities not only extend battery life but also facilitate real-time system monitoring. When combined with IoT and smart chargers, these BMS-equipped batteries can calculate optimal charging times and provide diagnostics. The rise of IoT technology and systems integration suggests that this will become a standard feature of drone batteries in the future.
Challenge: Lack of Safety Standards in the Drone Battery Industry
Safety standards in the design of drone batteries remain deficient, posing risks such as thermal runaway. A study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revealed 200 drone incidents between 2012 and 2017, with 50% of these occurring during charging. Operating at high altitudes and exposed to temperature fluctuations, vibrations, and shock, drone batteries are particularly susceptible to damage, leading to potential explosions and injuries to operators and property damage. Consequently, establishing safety standards in the drone battery industry becomes imperative.
Based on Technology, Lithium-Based Batteries to Lead the Market
The lithium-based segment is anticipated to take the lead in the drone battery market during the forecast period. Advancements in lithium-metal and lithium-sulfur technologies are expected to drive the growth of this segment. The escalating demand for alternative modes of transportation, including autonomous urban air mobility, is boosting the utilization of fuel cell batteries in drones.
Battery Management Systems (BMS) to Exhibit High Growth
Among the various components, the battery management system (BMS) segment is poised to witness the highest CAGR. This is attributed to the increasing emphasis on monitoring critical battery parameters such as current, voltage, temperature, state of health, and state of charge. BMS is crucial for ensuring the safety and optimal performance of drone batteries.
Aftermarket Segment to Experience Robust Growth
In terms of point of sale, the aftermarket segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR. The growing demand for modifying and upgrading commercial and military drones is driving the aftermarket segment's growth worldwide. Businesses and operators often purchase additional batteries to meet flight demands, contributing to the aftermarket's expansion.
Military Segment to Lead Drone Battery Market
The military segment is expected to take the lead in the drone battery market from 2021 to 2026. Increased investments in unmanned aerial systems by the defense sector, coupled with the growing significance of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), combat operations, and battle management applications, are propelling the demand for drone batteries. The military segment encompasses drone batteries of various sizes and capacities, with companies such as HES Energy Systems, Plug Power, EaglePicher, Inventus Power, and Oxis Energy Ltd. serving this sector.
Fixed-Wing Drones to Dominate Drone Battery Market
Based on drone type, the fixed-wing segment is poised to lead the drone battery market. Fixed-wing drones offer high stability and endurance in commercial and civil applications, utilizing lithium-polymer batteries for long-range flight capabilities.
Passenger Drones to Exhibit High Growth
In terms of function, the passenger drone segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR. The increasing application of drones in urban air mobility for purposes such as drone taxis, air ambulance services, and air shuttles is driving this growth. Hydrogen-based fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries are commonly employed in passenger drones.
North America to Lead the Drone Battery Market
The North American region is expected to lead the drone battery market during the forecast period. The region's growth is attributed to the rising adoption of drones for both commercial and defense applications. Recent years have witnessed drone manufacturers focusing on developing cost-effective, energy-efficient, lightweight drones capable of carrying larger payloads over longer distances. These drones are ideal for various commercial applications, including last-mile delivery for products, medicine, and postal services, among others. In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted permission for the operation of military, private, and commercial drones in U.S. airspace, expanding the drone battery market.
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Drone Battery Industry Companies: Top Key Market Players
The Drone Battery Companies are characterized by a group of globally established players, including Eaglepicher Technologies (US), Oxis Energy Ltd (US), Plug Power Inc (US), HES Energy Systems (Singapore), Intelligent Energy (UK), RRC Power Solutions (Germany), Micromulticopter Aero Technology Co., Ltd. (China), SolidEnergy Systems (US), Sion Power (US), Doosan Mobility Innovation (South Korea), Shenzhen Grepow Battery Co. Ltd. (China), and Epsilor (Israel), among others. These industry leaders have adopted diverse growth strategies, including acquisitions, agreements, partnerships, new product launches, contracts, and expansions, to further enhance their presence in the drone battery market.
The Drone Battery Market is on an upward trajectory, fueled by the expanding applications and growing demand for drones across various sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of drones, particularly in healthcare and contactless goods delivery. As drone technology continues to evolve, innovations in battery technology, safety standards, and cost-effectiveness will play pivotal roles in shaping the market's future. With lithium-based batteries at the forefront, the drone battery market is poised for significant growth, and industry stakeholders are poised to leverage this lucrative opportunity.
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