There are many ways of looking at and segmenting markets.  This section describes selected approaches.

End Users

One view is to look at the end user communities, who are operators who typically own and operate RPAS.  Here typical segments are Military, Civil Government, Commercial, Research, Recreational (normally private individuals) and Toys (ie those who play with them of all ages…).  While the market is developing rapidly, previous analyses have suggested that the Military and Civil segments have requirements for all types/classes of ‘professional' (ie not toy), Commercial users’ requirements are for either the smaller systems (such as for aerial photography, structural inspection, air quality monitoring, land management etc) and for the large, long endurance RPAS which are capable of acting as surrogate satellites.  It is suggested that the Commercial segment, at the moment, has fewer requirements for the mid-range of RPAS, such as might be used by the Civil segment for border, coastal and fishery monitoring.  However, the growth of the Commercial requirement for package delivery may change this.

RPA Capabilities and Parameters

There is a huge and growing range of types of RPAS and RPA.  RPA can be tiny aircraft weighing a few grams and large aircraft weighing tons.  Weight or mass of the RPA is a commonly used segmentation approach.  Operating altitude is another with classes such as High Altitude (HA), Medium Altitude (MA), Low Altitude (LA) and Very Low Level (VLL) sometimes being used.  The flight endurance of the RPA is another means of segmentation, Long Endurance (LE) and Medium Endurance being commonly used terms.  Operating altitude and endurance are often combined as in HALE and MALE.

A full systems approach to RPAS means that other characteristics, in addition to the RPA, shuld be taken into account.  These include the Remote Pilot Stations, the types of communication (eg terrestrial VHF or satellite), the need for any launch and recovery systems and payload types.


There is a rapidly growing number of applications for this relatively new sector of aviation and they can be grouped and segmented in different ways.  For example they can be viewed as applications of major interest to sectors, such as:

-   Commercial

-   Research (government, academic and commercial)

-   Central Government (civil)

-   Central Government (military, security etc)

-   Local Government (civil)

-   Recreation and hobby

-   NGOs (international aid, disaster relief, mapping etc)

or as classes of applications:

-   Imaging (optical, multi-spectral, hyper-spectral)

-   Remote sensing (other than imaging)

-   Transport (eg delivery)

-   Local lift (eg on construction sites)

Output Clients

The ‘End User’ looks at segmenting the market using the operators who typically own and operate RPAS.  A simiar view can be taken to segment the market by identifying those entities which use the output (including services provided such as carriage of packages) of RPAS operations but have no interest in owning and operating such systems themselves.  This is also a big subject and need not be listed in detail.  Examples include:  researchers wanting imagery taken by an RPA, such as in volcanic activity monitoring; land managers with a similar imagery requirement; event organizers wanting temporary security monitoring for their events; those requiring temporary airborne radio relay cover and package delivery.

Further Reading

Content to follow….

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