With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, semiconductors, sensors, etc., UAV systems continue to expand capabilities and application areas through fast technology iteration. According to the prediction of the "UAV System Development White Paper," the global UAV system will maintain a CAGR of more than 20% from 2019 to 2029, with a cumulative output value of more than 400 billion U.S. dollars within ten years, and the industry supporting expansion and innovative service market will be even more extensive.
1) Since the advent of UAVs, it has rapid iteration capabilities that traditional aircraft and large weapon systems do not have, and the evolutionary application scenarios continue to expand, gradually expanding from military use to civilian use. UAVs have the conditions for miniaturization, intelligence, and low cost as the UAV industry chain matures and the rapid development of flight control and navigation technology. The explosive growth of consumption level in 2014 has formed a dual-use pattern for UAVs.
2) The use of drones requires the support of drone systems. In terms of technology, UAV systems are developing towards diversification, intelligence, and generalization. In terms of military use, unmanned aerial vehicle systems will become the leading battle equipment of advanced air combat forces and a key component of systematic and intelligent operations. Civilian: The wide range of applications provides the industrialization foundation and market vitality for UAV systems development.
With its unique configuration, the vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing aircraft are one of the most dynamic subdivision tracks in the field of drones and even human-crewed aircraft in recent years.
In 2020, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAVs will accelerate militarization. Because it is not restricted by take-off and landing sites and can adapt to complex terrain environments such as navigation and mountains, the U.S. ranks the vertical take-off and landing aircraft as the top ten essential equipment for the future U.S. military. In 2020, the U.S. Air Force released the "Agility First" project to promote electric vertical take-off and land VTOL UAVs vigorously. Many emerging eVTOL commercial companies have participated, and currently, Joby and Beta have entered the test flight phase. The project is expected to complete the aircraft's airworthiness certification in 2023 and achieve the level of large-scale application in early 2025, conducting large-scale procurement.
In 2020, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAVs will continue to expand in industrial applications while accelerating the commercialization of urban transportation. 1) Industrial grade has become a new engine for the growth of global civilian drones, and the market has gradually shifted from C to B. With the continuous expansion of application scenarios, it is expected that in 2020, the industrial drone market will surpass consumer drones for the first time and become the primary market for civilian drones in the world. According to Frost & Sullivan's forecast, the global industrial drone market CAGR will reach 56.43% from 2020 to 2024, becoming a new growth engine for the international civilian market. The global civilian market will reach 415.727 billion yuan in 2024, while vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) are unmanned. The machine is also one of the development highlights. 2) VTOL accelerates the commercialization of urban transportation (UAM). In 2020, Japan and South Korea designed the UAM industrial plan from the top level at the national level, clarifying the critical time point for UAM development. At the same time, eVTOL companies are highly valued by global capital, including industrial capital (Toyota, Uber, Tencent, etc.). They have stepped up their deployment to help the commercialization of UAM.
1. Unmanned aerial vehicle system: 2019-2029 global cumulative output value exceeds 400 billion U.S. dollars
1.1 UAV and UAV system
UAVs are aircraft that do not carry operators, are powered by power, are reusable, use aerodynamics to take the flight, carry payloads, and complete designated tasks under remote control or autonomous planning. According to aerodynamic layout classification, UAVs are mainly divided into fixed-wing UAVs, multi-rotor UAVs, uncrewed helicopters, and vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing UAVs. Among them, the vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing UAV have the characteristics of both fixed-wing and multi-rotor. It has low requirements for take-off and landing sites and can hover in the air. It is suitable for large-area and long-endurance operations and can carry payloads for long-distance detection. It has application advantages.
UAVs have gradually expanded from military use to civilian use, forming a military-civilian dual-use pattern. In the early days, it was mainly used in the military field, and it was successively used in target aircraft, reconnaissance, intelligence detection, and bomb strike. Since the 1980s, the United States, Japan, and China have all explored the application of drones in the civilian field. From 2008 to 2014, benefiting from the development of informatization, mission load, satellite navigation, and other technologies, UAVs have become increasingly widely used in the military and industrial fields. Since 2014, as the UAV industry chain has matured and the rapid development of flight control and navigation technology, UAVs have the conditions for miniaturization, intelligence, and low cost. Consumer-grade UAVs have developed rapidly, and the industry has developed rapidly. Humans and machines have developed rapidly in the fields of inspection, security monitoring, agriculture, forestry and plant protection, surveying and mapping, and geographic information at the same time.
1) Large-scale unmanned aerial vehicle systems are mainly used in high-end military demand fields, and they are the "spire" of the entire industrial system. The development complexity and technical challenges of large UAV systems with mission functions such as air dominance, high altitude, high speed, and long endurance even exceed most manned combat aircraft. Only a few countries in the world, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, and China, have independent development capabilities for large-scale UAV systems and only a dozen leading defense companies in the world to have large-scale UAV systems development and production capabilities.
2) The performance of the medium-sized UAV system can meet most conventional tactical scenarios and industrial application fields. Some countries with low technological and industrial foundations have also entered this field through technical cooperation and the introduction of production lines. About 40 countries and regions around the world, Hundreds of manufacturers have medium-sized UAV system development and production capabilities, including traditional defense and aviation manufacturing companies, as well as many emerging high-tech companies.
3) With the help of mature software and hardware technology and supporting product system, the micro drone system is continuously being developed and applied in special operations scenarios and the mass and consumer fields, involving relatively low technical, professional, and capital thresholds. There are thousands of companies in the industry. Companies such as China's DJI Innovations have occupied a large market share, forming an industrial scale effect.
In terms of value, the UAV supporting system is about 38.5% of the UAV platform. The UAV platform includes the body, engine, system products, and mission equipment, while the UAV supporting system refers to the integrated support system and the general ground station. According to the U.S. Air Force's "Aircraft Procurement, Air Force 2018", as of 2017, the U.S. Air Force has completed the procurement of 55 "Global Hawk" UAV systems, with a total purchase cost of US$4.354 billion. Among them, 45 aircraft platforms cost US$3.143 billion in procurement, ten sets of general ground stations cost US$218 million in procurement, and the procurement cost of comprehensive support systems is US$993 million.
1.2 Development Trend of UAV System Industry
From the perspective of technological development trends, UAV systems are developing towards diversification, intelligence, and generalization.
1) Diversification: With the continuous enrichment of product pedigree and application scenarios, technological advancement continues to promote the development of UAV systems in the direction of high altitude, remoteness, high speed, and long endurance, and continuous innovation in the scope of application and usage;
2) Intelligence: The level of autonomy is an important criterion for the development of UAV systems, and intelligence will become one of the most prominent trends in future warfare and social development. UAV systems can coordinate with other unmanned systems and manned systems to achieve clustering and marshaling, which can complete more complex tasks;
3) Universalization: Using universal UAV system "station" and "chain" and other software and hardware, the same "station" can command and control multi-type and multi-sort UAV systems and realize data interconnection. In addition, the open system architecture and universal sensor/weapon interface will enable different mission loads to be "plug and play" between different platforms.
In terms of military use, UAV systems will become the main battle equipment of advanced air combat forces and a key component of systematic and intelligent operations. Advanced UAV systems such as high altitude, high speed, stealth, and long endurance will show outstanding strategic penetration capabilities and long-lasting combat capabilities in high-risk areas and high-intensity confrontation environments in the future; manned and unmanned coordination, distributed air operations, Cluster operations will become an important form of future air operations, and high-performance UAV systems will become the top priority of future intelligent airpower construction. In the context of informatization and networking, equipment system confrontation is the main combat style of future high-tech warfare. The development of weaponry and equipment will shift from "platform-centric" to "task capability-centric" systematization and networking. Unmanned aerial vehicle systems Through the cross-domain "enabling" of existing combat methods and equipment systems, effectively promote the level of information networking and joint operations and give full play to the full-dimensional, precise, and agile combat effectiveness of the equipment system under the conditions of information warfare.
The wide application in the civilian field provides an industrial foundation and market vitality for the development of UAV systems. Unmanned aerial vehicle systems have been widely used in aerial photography entertainment, agriculture, forestry, and plant protection, security monitoring, geological surveying and mapping, power inspections, logistics and transportation, and continue to explore new concepts and scenarios, such as future urban intelligent air transportation systems, unmanned air logistics Wait. Under the background of the trend of high informatization, automation, and intelligence in the future society, unmanned aerial vehicle systems will accelerate the penetration, impact, and even subversion of various industries and fields of social life and continue to expand the space for industrial development.
According to the White Paper on the Development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems, the investment scale of the global unmanned aerial vehicle system industry in 2018 has increased by 30 times compared with 20 years ago. It is estimated that the average annual growth rate of the global unmanned aerial vehicle system field will remain above 20% from 2019 to 2029. The cumulative output value has exceeded 400 billion U.S. dollars, and it has driven the trillion-dollar industry to support the expansion and innovative service market.