Atlas of drones for agriculture and the market of agricultural UAVs, 2018-2025

February 2019

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Atlas of drones for agriculture and the market of agricultural UAVs, 2018-2025
Atlas of drones for agriculture and the market of agricultural UAVs, 2018-2025
February 2019

Atlas of drones for agriculture and the market of agricultural UAVs, 2018-2025

February 2019

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Precision agriculture (or "smart" agriculture) is impossible without obtaining and processing primary data from a wide variety of sources, but especially from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones). Compared with other data sources (remote sensing, agricultural machinery, sensors "in the fields", etc.), drones generate more accurate and timely data on the state of crops, which can help farmers optimize the use of resources (seeds, fertilizers, water), respond to threats (weeds, pests, fungi) faster, save time, improve the composition of fertilizers, as well as increase their profitability. J'son & Partners Consulting presents some results of its research called "Atlas of drones for agriculture and the market of agricultural UAVs, 2018-2025".


The importance of UAVs in agriculture


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in agriculture is a new, high-precision method of obtaining visual data from the air in different spectra in relation to the coordinates of the terrain, as well as performing a number of important agricultural works (processing of crops, planting trees, repelling pests). As a rule, agricultural drones (ADs) are controlled remotely from the ground or programmed and are fully autonomous. The main tasks of most models of ADs used today are to collect a variety of visual information about farmland state and field irrigation. But at the same time we can see that the use of agricultural drones for irrigation and other tasks is also growing.


ADs are used as part of so-called unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). Such system includes:

  •          A drone itself
  •          Sensors installed on it
  •          On-board and external software for data analysis and visualization
  •          Telemetry system (for real-time image management and transmission)
  •          Radio control unit (remote)
  •          Launch pads/boom sloping pads (if required)


Functioning of an agricultural UAS includes the following successive stages:

  •          Mission planning
  •          Mission fulfillment (flight)
  •          Uploading data from the drone and downloading it to the software/services/cloud
  •          Data processing, data visualization on user's devices
  •          Generation of reports with analytics (desktop, mobile devices).
  •          Integration of data into the processes of economy/business/company
  •          Formation of a new mission
  •          Loading a new mission into the drone and the rest of the agricultural machinery for execution


Flying drones can be involved in almost all stages of the production cycle in agriculture, except for harvesting – in preparatory work, planting, cultivation and protection, analysis and planning. They are able to examine agricultural areas of impressive size in a few hours, and the information collected with the help of cameras and sensors allows the farmer to: create electronic 3D maps of their fields, calculate the normalized vegetation index for the purpose of effective fertilization of crops, carry out inventory, protect the farmland, etc.


The main tasks solved with the help of ADs:

  •          Visual observation (shooting in the visible range, multi-spectral/spectrozonal)
  •          Performing agricultural tasks, both traditional (spraying of fertilizers and chemicals, watering, sowing, scaring birds), and perspective (pollination of plants, harvesting, grazing, etc.)
  •          Other work (retransmission of radio and navigation signals for animal control, environmental monitoring)


The main barriers for using ADs:

  •          Commitment to traditions and unwillingness to use
  •          Competition with remote sensing satellites
  •          Technical limitations
  •          Financial risks
  •          Regulatory limitations



Air codes of many countries of the world, as a rule, limit commercial or civil operation of UAVs heavier than a certain weight and over a certain altitude and range, without a special permit. Therefore, even if the technical capabilities of the drone allow to cover the entire territory of the field at a time, the current conservative legislation does not allow drones to leave the operator's visibility. In addition, as a rule, aircrafts and drones use the so-called “crossing airspace”, for this reason, each departure of an agro drone must be agreed in advance with the airspace regulators and a flight plan must be obtained.


Approaches to assessing the feasibility of using drones in agriculture


At the moment, there is no uniform methodology and formulas for assessing the feasibility of using UAVs in different areas of business in comparison with traditional air transport. This is due to both the large number of models of drones on the market, as their price and technical capabilities differ significantly, and with the peculiarities of business in different industries. The cost of monthly usage of ADs will vary within wide limits depending on the model and frequency of use.


Large agro-industrial conglomerates such as “Monsanto” have started to provide comprehensive services based on agro drones and specialized software, allowing to carry out data analysis and receive recommendations for specific improvements (for example, identification of diseases, parasites, etc.) in farming immediately after the return of the drone from the field. As a result, subscribers of the service no longer need to worry about the acquisition of UAVs and paying drone operators and data analysts. The agronomist will be able to analyze the data in a convenient way. However, at the moment, these services are not available in all countries or regions.


J'son & Partners Consulting experts suggest using an approach based on the interconnection of the farm size (the field area) with the assessment of the availability of services based on drone-as-service (DaaS) in the business region of the farm and comparing the cost of buying and servicing UAVs in comparison with traditional aircrafts. The purpose of this approach is to select the least expensive technology that provides the necessary data and the required work implementation.



The world market of agricultural drones


Drones in agriculture can improve the accuracy and efficiency of data acquisition, reduce losses and costs, increase productivity and profitability of agricultural business. In the very near future use of agro drones will be a normal process, like use of tractors now. Depending on the needs of a particular agricultural company, it may be advisable to either purchase its own drone and process the data and analyze the results independently, or purchase a drone as a service (DaaS), or subscribe to the "Farm Management" package and receive all data from the service contractor.


Every year, agricultural UAVs become more accessible, which stimulates their penetration into the sector. Price range of AD models has expanded considerably and now you can buy quite cheap models costing less than 2600 USD. Modern agro drones allow not only to obtain visual data from the air about crops and soil in various sections and in relation to the terrain, but also to perform a number of important farming activities (crop processing, planting trees, scaring birds). These drones can carry a variety of payloads, from conventional photo and video cameras, consumer-grade software modifications to special infrared agricultural sensors, hyperspectral cameras, thermal imagers, sensors, solar sensors, lidar, fluorescence cameras, and liquid tanks and cartridges for planting tree saplings.


In recent years, the global market has increased in the number of companies offering AD models for sale, as well as commercial drone-based services and software for AD data processing, due to the growing interest to the agricultural sector.


According to J'son & Partners Consulting, in 2018 agro drone sales on the world market will amount to 1.1 billion USD and by 2025, it can grow by 6 times - up to 6.33 billion USD.


By 2025, agricultural drones can become the largest segment of the commercial UAV market, and growing awareness about such technologies amongst farmers and the formation of the regulatory framework will also contribute to this. According to the forecast from J'son & Partners Consulting, by 2025, about half of all sales of new commercial UAVs will fall on drones for agriculture.


According to J'son & Partners Consulting estimates, multicopters hold the main share in the global market in 2018 – 56% in the portfolios of manufacturers, and glider drones hold 39%. According to the type of work performed, the main share is occupied by UAVs for visual observation – 69% in the portfolios of manufacturers, and drones for irrigation (spraying insecticides, fertilizing, watering) – 24%.


From the point of view of the regional structure of the world market, about a third of the world agricultural drone market in sales is occupied by the United States (27%). In the US, 33% of 1094 farms are already using ADs in their activities independently or through third parties as a service.


According to J'son & Partners Consulting experts, the development of the global market for agricultural drones in the medium term can be divided into three key stages. The first stage (3-5 years from now) is characterized by mass, but unsystematic introduction of UAVs into farms at different levels. The second stage (next 5-7 years) will show consolidation of the market of services based on ADs with the advent of AD fleet operators offering complete solutions/services for collection and analysis of agricultural data by subscription.


And finally, the third stage or “maturity” of the market (next 10-15 years) will be characterized by the building of vertically integrated holdings that will offer all services for agriculture with the use of remote sensing, UAVs, software solutions for data analysis, data networks, etc.


The Russian market of agricultural drones


The specifics of the Russian agricultural market is a huge area of arable lands, the need for agriculture in zones of “risky farming”, too different climatic regions and soil potential. For example, the South of Russia and the black soil region are favorable for agriculture, and crop production is a profitable business there. In regions with less favorable natural conditions, agricultural producers may simply not have free funds for modernization of their equipment, as well as for introduction of GIS and agricultural management systems.


Among the most active market participants such players as "Unmanned technology" (Novosibirsk), "Geoskan" (Saint-Petersburg), "Autonomous aerospace systems — "GeoService" (Krasnoyarsk) can be highlighted.


They provide customers with a fairly wide range of services in support and control of agricultural activities: from farmland inventory, creation of electronic field maps to monitoring of the equipment and the state of crops, vegetation stage calculation and others.


According to J'son & Partners Consulting, Russia still holds a small share in the global AD market – 2.3% in sales in 2018 and up to 3.2% in sales by 2025. In quantitative terms, the volume of sales in 2018 will be 1.9 thousand units and most models of agricultural drones will be drones for visual observation of crops and drones for spraying fertilizers and insecticides. Now about 5-10% of farmers / farms in Russia use precision farming technologies. They started using agricultural drones mainly in 2016.


Despite the presence of several AD manufacturers in the country, the bulk of their components, including controllers, sensors, motors, comes from other countries (for example, China) and therefore it is not entirely correct to call these developments purely Russian. Many companies positioning themselves as Russian are registered in other countries (USA, Germany) and mainly focused on sales outside the Russian Federation, or even close their offices in Russia, as they do not find mass demand for their products in Russia.


The factors that stimulate this market to develop include the relatively low efficiency of traditional farming methods, inefficient use of resources and time for work, the high cost of traditional aerial photography services, high costs for equipment repair.


Barriers to the use of UAVs in agriculture include inertia and lack of awareness amongst farmers and small farms about the existence and benefits of UAVs, uneven distribution of technologies in the regions/countries, regulation, complicating the process of UAV use or even prohibiting it, weak coverage of agricultural regions with data networks and broadband Internet, which limits the use of cloud computing and post-processing data from drones.



This information note was prepared by the J'son & Partners Consulting. We work hard to provide factual and prognostic data that fully reflect the situation and available at the time of release. J'son & Partners Consulting reserves the right to revise the data after publication of new official information by individual players. 


Copyright © 2019, J'son & Partners Consulting. The media can use the text, graphics, and data contained in this market review only using a link to the source of information - J'son & Partners Consulting or with an active link to the JSON.TV portal


™ J'son & Partners [registered trademark] 


Detailed results of the study are presented in the full report:


"Atlas of drones for agriculture and the market of agricultural UAVs, 2018-2025



  1. About the study    
  2. Introduction          
  3. Definition of agricultural drones        
  4. Application areas of agricultural drones
  5. Application cases of agricultural drones in the world

5.1.“Leti i smotri” (Russian for "Fly and see") (Russia)       

5.2.Agricultural holding IMK (Russia)   

5.3.Agro-Region (Russia)         

5.4.Syngenta (Russia)   

5.5.Counting coconut trees (Samoa)   

5.6.Irrigation canal planning (Nigeria)  

5.7.Prevention of migration of locust (Africa) 

5.8.Control of unlawful land seizure (Panama)

  1. Classification of agricultural drones  
  2. Ecosystem of the market of agricultural drones    
  3. Assessment of the impact of UAV use in agriculture        

8.1.Problems of traditional agriculture 

8.2.Advantages of using drones in agriculture 

8.3.Disadvantages of using drones in agriculture      

8.4.Barriers to the use of drones in agriculture         

8.1.Approaches to assessing the feasibility of using drones in agriculture  

  1. The world market of agricultural drones      
  2. Prospects of development of the market of agricultural drones           
  3. The Russian market of agricultural drones 
  4. Drones for agriculture    

12.1.        3D Robotics  

12.1.1.  Aerial Technology International (USA)     

12.1.2.  AeroHawk (USA)     

12.1.3.  Aeromao (Canada)  

12.1.4.  AeroVironment (USA)        

12.1.5.  AgEagle Aerial Systems (USA)      

12.1.6.  Airborne Robotics (Austria)

12.1.7.  ALTI – Former SteadiDrone (South Africa)

12.1.8.  ASTA Technology (China)   

12.1.9.  AX Drones (China)   

12.1.10.          BirdsEye View Aerobotics (USA)    

12.1.11.          Clear Flight Solutions (Holland)     

12.1.12.          Delair Technologies Inc. / Trimble (France)       

12.1.13.          DJI (China)   

12.1.14.          DreamEagle (China) 

12.1.15.          Dronee (Estonia)     

12.1.16.          Droneseed (USA)    

12.1.17.          Foxtech (China)      

12.1.18.          Homeland Surveillance Electronics LLC (USA)     

12.1.19.          Honeycomb (USA)  

12.1.20.          Horus (Brazil)

12.1.21.          Intel-AscTec (Germany)     

12.1.22.          JMRRC Shenzhen GC electronics Co., Ltd.  (China)       

12.1.23.          Joyance Tech (China)        

12.1.24.          Kray Technologies (Ukraine)        

12.1.25.          Lockheed Martin (USA)      

12.1.26.          MMC (China) 

12.1.27.          OKB "Matrix of technologies" (Ukraine)   

12.1.28.          "NPO "Itek" (Ukraine)       

12.1.29.          Megadrone (Ukraine)        

12.1.30.          OpenRobotix Labs (USA)   

12.1.31.          Parrot (France)       

12.1.32.          Precision Hawk (USA)        

12.1.33.          RJX (China)  

12.1.34.          SenseFly-Parrot (Switzerland)       

12.1.35.          Sentera (USA)        

12.1.36.          SkyDrones (Brazil)   

12.1.37.          Skywalker (China)   

12.1.38.          Swift Aeroplanes (USA)      

12.1.39.          Top Flight Technologies (USA)     

12.1.40.          Walkera Technology (China)        

12.1.41.          XactSense (United States)  

12.1.42.          Yamaha Corporation (Japan)       

12.1.43.          Zerotech (China)     

12.1.44.          Agrofly (Russia)      

12.1.45.          Agroscan (Russia)   

12.1.46.          LLC " GEOSCAN»    

12.1.47.          OOO "BOSON" (Russia)     

  1. Software for agricultural drones        

13.1.   AgLeader (USA)  

13.2.   AgPixel (USA)     

13.3.   Agribotix (USA)   

13.4.   AgWorks (USA)   

13.5.   Airinov (France – together with Parrot

13.6.   Airmap (USA)     

13.7.   BotLink (USA)     

13.8.   Drone Deploy (USA)      

13.9.   Mavrx (USA)       

13.10.MicaSense (USA) 

13.11.Myagcentral (United States)     

13.12.New Science Technologies - Cropio (USA)     

13.13.Pix4D (Switzerland)       

13.14.Precision Hawk (USA)    

13.15.Sensfly (Switzerland)     

13.16.Sentera (USA)     

13.17.Simactive (Canada)       

13.18.SkyWards (USA)

13.19.Proagrica - SST Summit (USA)  

13.20.Trimble (USA)     

13.21.AgiSoft (Russia)  

13.22.Agro Drone Group (Russia)      

13.23.ExactFarming (Russia)

  1. Sensors & equipment      
  2. Main conclusions  


List of pictures

Pic. 1. Average yield of agricultural crops in Russia and other countries, 2003-2012(centner per hectare).

Pic. 2. The UAV scheme

Pic. 3. Example of visual data on inventory         

Pic. 4. Example of visual data on land delimitation

Pic. 5. Example of visual data on calculation of trees on the site   

Pic. 6. Example of visual data on plant health monitoring 

Pic. 7. Example of visual data on the presence of stagnant water 

Pic. 8. Planting from drones       

Pic. 9. Example of an image with a yield forecast

Pic. 10. Example of an image with a forecast of vegetation index (NDVI)  

Pic. 11. Example of an image with a forecast of nitrogen fertilizer application needs          

Pic. 12. Modified multicopters of consumer and commercial classes         

Pic. 13. Counting palm trees using data analysis from UAV aerial photography     

Pic. 14. Assessment of the structure of agricultural UAVs by types

Pic. 15. Examples of agricultural drones with fixed wing glider     

Pic. 16. Examples of agricultural quadcopters     

Pic. 17. Example of agricultural drone helicopters

Pic. 18. Example of agricultural "airship" drones  

Pic. 19. Examples of AD manufacturers  

Pic. 20. Examples of software developers and data analysis solutions      

Pic. 21. Correlation between the level of coverage and detail of the data. The higher from the ground - the lower the level

Pic. 22. Status of UAV flight regulations in different countries of the world, 2016   

Pic. 23. Example of the mission plan of the maximum permitted radius within the line of sight of the UAV operator 

Pic. 24. Assessment and forecast of sales of agricultural drones on the world market, billion dollars, 2016-2025     

Pic. 25. Forecast for the share of agricultural drones in the total market structure of UAVs, % of billion dollars      

Pic. 26. Assessment and forecast of sales of agricultural drones on the world market, units, 2016-2025

Pic. 27. Forecast for the share of agricultural drones in the total market structure of UAVs, % of units in 2016-2025

Pic. 28. Assessment of the supply of agricultural drones on the world market by types of UAVs. Based on the analysis of the largest manufacturers' portfolios, 2018  

Pic. 29. Assessment of the offer of agricultural drones on the world market by their functions. Based on the analysis of the largest manufacturers' portfolios, 2018 

Pic. 30. Assessment of the cost allocation for agricultural drones, 2018, US dollars, from offers in the market        

Pic. 31. Assessment of the cost allocation for agricultural drones, 2018, US dollars, from offers in the market        

Pic. 32. Assessment of the cost allocation for irrigation multicopters, 2018, US dollars, from offers in the market    

Pic. 33. Correlation between the cost of ADs and the maximum time of its loaded flight, 2018       

Pic. 34. Assessment of the US share in sales of agricultural drones on the world market in 2018   

Pic. 35. Assessment and forecast for sales of agricultural drones in Russia, mln. dollars, 2016-2025          

Pic. 36. Assessment and forecast for sales of agricultural drones in Russia, units, 2016-2025        

Pic. 37. Russia's share in sales of agricultural drones, 2018 and 2025, % of their cost in US dollars and from quantity

Pic. 38. Top regions using precision agriculture


List of tables

Table. 1. Usage models for agricultural drones in precision agriculture     

Table. 2. Advantages and disadvantages of different types of agricultural drones

Table. 3. Advantages and disadvantages of different types of agricultural drones 

Table. 4. Matrix of appropriate means for air data collection        

Table. 5. Comparison of the share of agricultural drones in the cost and sales volume of UAVs on the world market in 2018 and 2025.

Table. 6. Assessment of changes in the average cost of agricultural drones from 2018 to 2025, US dollars.

Table. 7. Assessment of changes in the average cost of agricultural drones from 2018 to 2025, US dollars.