Just how many flights have all commercial drones in the world completed?

We have read how Zipline, the leading drone logistics company in the world, has boasted about its well over one million flights worldwide.

By comparison, Wing – another drone logistics company – has made passed 330,000 flights across the world.

But, have you ever wondered how many flights have all commercial drones made since records started? And we know we have given an example of delivery drones, but what industries have had the most flights?

This and other related questions are what the researchers at Drone Industry Insights have tried to answer in their latest report, snippets of which can be found in their summary below.


How much drone use is taking place in the world today?

Although there is plenty of data out there about how drones optimise workflow and the top applications, not a lot is said about how many drones are sold and are in operation today.

That is the informational gap being filled by the latest Drone Utilization Report. 

Among other insights, this brand-new report provides unique figures on the number of commercial units sold as well as exclusive data on the number of drones operating commercially (“drones in the air”).

Finally, the report provides insights into both the total number of flights and the amount of flight hours accumulated. For a glimpse into what to expect from this latest research, here is an overview and samples of the data that is covered regarding the use of drones.

Commercial drone units sold and operational “Drones in the Air”

Without a doubt, the core highlight of this report is the data on commercial drone units sold and the exclusive statistics on the number of drones in the air.

The report features data on commercial drone unit sales along with forecasts until 2030. These commercial unit sales figures include both, commercial prosumers (drones that cost less than US$10,000) as well as professional drones (drones that cost more than US$10,000). Based on the latest global data, drone unit sales of commercial prosumers are by far higher than professional drones.

Perhaps the highlight and even more unique insight in this report is the aforementioned measure of “drones in the air”.  This measure of operational drones consists of drones that have been purchased over the years minus the rate of drones that go out of operation due to obsolescence, technology failures, or accidents.

It is a unique figure to determine the number of commercial drones that are out in the market and technically able to operate (regardless of whether they in fact are operating on a regular basis).

Drone use by region and country: VLOS and BVLOS

Two unique and exclusive figures from the report are data on the number of flights per region as well as the number of flight hours around the world.

The number of flights per region features a breakdown of some of the top country markets (China, USA, Australia, Japan, Germany, UK, Canada, Brazil, France, and South Korea). Meanwhile, the data on flight hours features these countries as well as a breakdown of VLOS and BVLOS hours. A glimpse of this can be seen in the exclusive infographic above. 

A global total of 7.6 million drone flight hours will be recorded by the end of 2023. Mathematically, this translates into 20,822 flight hours per day in countries all around the world.

However, it is worth mentioning that this is a somewhat conservative estimate.

When broken down by region, Asia is the leader in terms of total flight events and flight hours. However, Oceania leads in terms of the average number of “flights per drone operator” – calculated by dividing the average number of drone flights by the average number of drone employees per company.

At the country level, China is the undisputed leader in drone use for both VLOS and BVLOS operations. But, as the shown by the infographic, the use of drones is also very high in the United States, though it is much more reliant on VLOS operations.

Overall, VLOS operations are still much more common than BVLOS operations, but that is likely to change as more crucial regulation takes effect in the next couple of years to enable advanced operations (e.g. EASA).

The use of drones within industries

It is no secret that the Energy/Utilities industry has the highest use of drone technology. However, this latest research provides data on drone use in each industry vertical including a breakdown of annual revenue with CAGR until 2030.

This is followed by a further breakdown by sub-vertical with annual revenue for each, and a final table featuring exact financial forecast and CAGR for each vertical and sub-vertical.

For example: the Drone Utilization Report features the overall market size for “drones in Energy” each year until 2030 as well as its sub-verticals: 1. Drones in Oil & Gas Extraction and Distribution, 2. Drones in Power Generation and Distribution, 3. Drones in Water, Sewage, and Other Systems.

By inspecting the fiancial market size forecast each year for each of these sub-verticals, one can see that drones used within Power Generation & Distribution alone will become an industry worth US$ 4.4 billion by 2030.

Drone use by method, brand, and market share

What are the main industries where Localization & Tracking is done with drones?

And what are the leading drone brands used for inspection? The new new report boasts annual revenue and forecast growth (CAGR) for each drone application method from 2023 until 2030. It also dives into the top industries for each application method as well as the leading drone brands used (ranked by % of global market share).

This means that for example, companies that specialise in drone mapping and want to maximise revenue opportunities can learn about not only the top industry verticals to target (e.g. Construction or Public Administration), but also about the top brands that are used for drone mapping around the world.

More insights in new Drone Utilization Report

The Drone Utilization Report provides a clear view into the current and future landscape of drone use. It shows how drones are steadily becoming a normal part of business across various industries and regions.

This isn’t just about the technology itself, but how it’s being integrated into everyday work, changing the way companies operate. At its core, the report is a practical guide for businesses and individuals looking to understand the drone market and the growing importance of drone technology.


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