Home > UAVs > What are the most popular drones for commercial use? Let’s ask the Section 333 data.

What are the most popular drones for commercial use? Let’s ask the Section 333 data.

Last week we took a look at the FAA Section 333 exemption grant data to see what states had the most activity, how long the FAA took to issue grants, and what purposes were given for flying a UAV commercially. This week we want to explore what vendors and UAV models are most popular with commercial UAV operators.

Keep in mind that this data only covers organizations that chose to file a 333 exemption. Also, there is some lack of clarity in the models. For example, the Skywalker Flying Wing appears in the data. I believe that this represents someone doing a custom build using the Skywalker as a base.

We’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is the most popular UAV model used by commercial operators with a 333 exemption?
  • For vendors that have more than one model, which model is most popular?
  • Where are those vendors located?

If you have additional questions that might be answered by analysis of this data set, please drop us a line and we’ll try to get it answered. Also, if anyone is interested in funding additional research, we’d love to collect and analyze similar data sets from other countries.


So what is the most popular UAV model used by commercial operators with a 333 exemption? The DJI Phantom 2V+.

UAV model popularity-cropped

DJI holds the top five spots and eight of the top ten spots. (This chart is truncated, the full chart is available at the end of this post.)

Next, for vendors that have more than one model, which model is most popular?

UAV model popularity-multiple models

DJI’s most popular model is the Phantom Vision 2+, Sensefly’s eBee is their most popular model, and 3DR Iris+ leads their line. An example of the type of follow on question that comes out of this analysis is this – Why is the Altavian Nova F6500 more popular than their R8400?

Finally, where are those vendors located?

UAV vendor countries

Summary

As we have been hearing for months, DJI dominates the US market for UAVs. But US vendors out number all other vendors combined. I wonder what that will look like in a year’s time? Two year’s time? I do not think that the market can sustain 50+ UAV vendors.

What impact will regulation have on these figures? What vendors will be able to successfully integrate transponders, for example, into their product line.

As operators start generating revenue, will they continue to use consumer grade UAVs or will they move to purpose built UAVs with more professional features?

Watching the vendor space mature and settle out will be very interesting.


Full chart of models listed in Section 333 grants:

UAV model popularity

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Categories: UAVs
  1. ocdpfsas
    July 3, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Very interesting information. Just one quick note; the Altavian Nova Block III and Altavian F6500 are the same aircraft.

  1. November 16, 2016 at 1:57 pm

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