About commercial drones in Colombia

They already have a Flying Labs representative among their midst, so Colombia must be doing something right in their contribution towards the drone industry in the global south.

It is just the kind of resilience and perseverance needed if the region is to make progress in its commercial drone enterprises, in the face of almost no investment when paired against the humongous markets in Asia and North America.

Our good friends at Drone Industry Insights have made an initial accounting of the state of the commercial drone industry in Colombia, and produced the below report – which they compiled from a survey they conducted recently.

“With recent headlines highlighting the use of drones in search and rescue operations after landslides, as well as their application in precision agriculture in remote areas, the Colombian drone market is gaining momentum,” the report says.

Opportunity for Drones in Colombia

Colombia, with a population of roughly 50 million, is the fourth-largest economy in Latin America, with a real GDP of US$754.65 billion (as of 2021). It has a land area of 1.14 million square kilometres, and 37.5 percent of this is used for agriculture, which provides plenty of opportunities for the adoption of drone technology.

In addition, some of Colombia’s top natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, and coal, which also open the door to applications in the top industry vertical for drone use and in mining.

Finally, roughly 82.4 percent of the total population lives in urban areas, creating a large market for advanced air mobility (once the relevant regulations are in place), as well as an opportunity for suburban and regional deliveries to the remaining population outside of cities and in potentially hard-to-reach areas.

Market Composition

The Colombian drone market is characterised by a vibrant start-up ecosystem, with a majority of companies falling into the range of 1-10 employees or 11-50 employees.

These agile and innovative companies are driving the growth of the industry in Colombia. While a significant portion of drone companies in the country are Drone Service Providers (DSPs), there are also numerous companies that specialise in drone training and education, contributing to the development of skilled professionals in the field.

Additionally, approximately half of the drone companies in Colombia are members of a drone association, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing within the industry.

Priorities and Challenges

According to the survey responses, the top priorities for drone companies in Colombia revolve around marketing and sales, staff development, and finances and funding.

These priorities reflect the need for companies to effectively promote their services, nurture talent, and secure the necessary resources for growth and innovation. However, the Colombian drone market also faces several challenges.

The most significant challenges identified by the respondents include public acceptance, geopolitics, and inflation.

Environmental opposition to oil and gas exploration, uncertainty, and the acceptance of new technologies in the industry were among the specific comments provided by the respondents.

And as with many other countries, it is evident that proactive regulation and industry support are crucial factors for the growth and success of the drone market in Colombia.

Views on Optimism, Regulation

Despite the challenges, drone companies in Colombian exhibit a higher level of optimism for the coming year compared to the previous year, with a rating of 7.1 out of 10, surpassing the global average of 6.6. This positive outlook reflects the potential and opportunities that the Colombian drone market holds.

The survey also revealed that the key market-driving actors for drones in Colombia are the rule-making authorities and the Drone Service Providers (DSPs).

In this regard, respondents stated that there has been a slight improvement in the regulatory landscape. This indicates progress in creating an enabling environment for drone operations in Colombia.

In conclusion, the Colombian drone market is experiencing growth and innovation driven by a dynamic start-up ecosystem. While challenges such as public acceptance and geopolitical factors persist, the industry remains optimistic about the future.

With the support of proactive regulation and industry collaboration, the Colombian drone market is poised to unlock its full potential and contribute to various sectors, including search and rescue, agriculture, and beyond.


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