According to CB Insights, venture funding for drones continues to reach new highs. Key quote from their article Liftoff: Drone Funding Hits All-Time High For Third-Straight Quarter:
After reaching an all-time high in each of the past two quarters, drone funding showed no sign of slowing down, reaching $139M on 20 deals in Q3’15. Deal count also reached a third-straight all-time quarterly high.
The CB Insights chart below (click to enlarge) illustrates this growth.
This is pretty good for an industry that is still small and faces potentially heavy regulatory headwinds.
For example, the proposed Consumer Drone Safety Act would require a wide range of new safety technologies be built into all new drones.
But investors are betting that the demand for drones will be so large that regulations will not impede the industry too much. And they are probably right.
For example, Fortune's GE is using drones to inspect the power grid suggests that using drones to conduct routine maintenance inspections on power lines and transmission towers could generate $4.1 billion in drone revenue by 2024.
Multiply this by all the possible industrial and consumer applications and you can quickly project a huge drone industry. Insurance giant AIG has done this math and is already offering drone insurance.
And, of course, military applications will continue to be a major growth area. More countries are investing in military drones as are non-state actors like Isis.
Russia and Iran, it seems, have even started using suicide drones that are designed to land and then explode near targets. While this raises a number of potentially troubling issues, a one time use drone certainly increases demand.
And, of course, everyone seems to believe drones will one day be used for home delivery. The latest on this front is Walmart appears to be exploring drone delivery.
While we continue to be very skeptical around the use of drones for consumer package delivery, we certainly agree the drone industry is poised for substantial growth.