The possibilities of unmanned vehicles
The unmanned vehicle business is projected to see substantial growth over the coming years, with a market worth USD 30+ billion by 2022. Several major trends and initiatives are underway, driving this growth forward. For instance, there is an increased need for more robustness and security, smaller footprints, and reduced power consumption as well as for even higher performance.
Safety & Security
Future unmanned vehicle applications will require more navigation control and security, as pilots and drivers become less involved in steering. There have been concerns that today’s mass market positioning technology cannot deliver enough accuracy to enable automated navigation and that safety and security breaches could potentially lead to loss of vehicle control. As the market evolves, so have the technologies offering higher positioning accuracy and heightened security features. High precision GNSS position information enables highly automated applications while trustworthy and secure position information enables fully autonomous operations.
Unmanned vehicles require high precision control. Because of their comparatively high manufacturing bill of materials (BOM), they have been unable to afford the size, power, or cost of the high precision technologies used in the surveying and heavy machinery markets. As the BOM in the consumer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and drone markets has come down, low cost, high performance industrial UAV applications have become viable, driving the need for high precision control, for instance for professional UAV applications.
New use cases
The evolving market has given rise to new use cases. Commercial UAV operations are, for instance, becoming increasingly common in mapping and inspection applications. We also see an increased interest in UAV delivery applications led by Google, UPS, Mercedes-Benz, and Amazon. More and more business-critical markets such as agriculture and machine control have adopted high precision GNSS technologies to satisfy their automation needs, yet costs have limited mass adoption. A brand new use case is Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM), which is looking at ways to integrate UAV flights into the airspace without a UAV pilot. Many more applications will emerge as the growth of the robotic homecare market reduces the cost of small ground vehicle robotics manufacturing.
Remote control connectivity
Unmanned vehicles require new means for monitoring and remote control that put the human above the system rather than inside it. These cases require secure and stable connectivity technologies offering cellular and short range radio connectivity.