Get ready Californians, we’ve got another “gold rush” headed your way. A Fortune magazine highlights the overall positive impact the drone industry will have on our economy. As many as 70,000 new jobs will be created in the first 3 years growing to 100,000 new jobs in 10 years after drones are commercially cleared in U.S. airspace.
The largest American drone brand is a Northern California company named 3D Robotics Inc. and they see a big opportunity for drone makers. Consumers want mini-drones with cameras, GPS and sensors and 3DR wants to sell them.
The Berkeley company expects to sell thousands of the pizza-sized drones — for about $1,000 each — at home and abroad this year. Tech-savvy customers want them for capturing wave-shredding surfing runs in the Pacific, monitoring oil and gas pipelines in remote regions, and other uses.
3D Robotics is out in front of dozens of California companies jumping into the nascent business of selling drones to consumers and commercial enterprises, just as companies in the state did earlier when the drone market consisted largely of one customer: the Pentagon.
Interestingly enough for a California based company, 3DR is manufacturing their drones outside of the United States.
Although military drones were born in Southern California and are still built here, 3D’s drones will be built outside the country.
In this new drone economy, it may surprise you to know that many of the new players are just geeks in garages. Silicon Valley has become the hub of US drone business and lots of Internet entrepreneurs are jumping into the game.
The epicenter of the fast-growing commercial drone business is in Silicon Valley, not Southern California, and the new players are quite different from the giant contractors that dominate the military drone market, such as Northrop Grumman Corp. or General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
They’re more like the classic Silicon Valley stereotype: geeks working in garages.
It seems like drones are flying off the shelves as fast as they being assembled. This has created immense global sales numbers. According to Frost & Sullivan, last year drone sales hit $3.3 billion and are projected to reach $4.5 billion this year. In 2014, Amazon was selling 8,000 UAVs/month.
Sales are already climbing among hobbyists, foreign users and companies that have gained exemptions to fly. Global sales of drones to consumers and companies are estimated to be $4.5 billion this year, up from $3.3 billion last year, according to Frost & Sullivan, a market research firm.
If you aren’t a “techy entrepreneur,” and you are asking yourself how you can get involved in the drone industry, then consider becoming a drone pilot. As a certified drone pilot, you will be ready to work at any 333 exempt business and ahead of the curve when the FAA approves commercial drone use. Being a drone pilot gives you lots of choices too, you could work in aerial photography, aerial videography, agriculture, education, infrastructure inspections, sales or service.