Eye in the Sky: A Study of the Commercial Drone Ecosystem

by: Ravi Anupindi, Lucy Scoles

Publication Date: June 17, 2021
Length: 18 pages
Product ID#: 4-585-136

Core Disciplines: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Information - Technology & Management, Operations Management/Supply Chain, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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With military drones on one end of the spectrum and consumer drones on the other, a sector is evolving in the middle as drones are increasingly adopted for commercial use. This emerging commercial industry has both growth challenges and opportunities for the future.

This conceptual note reviews the four primary commercial drone platforms: multi-rotor, fixed-wing, single-rotor, and hybrid. It then presents the ecosystem for commercial drones including hardware, software, and connectivity. After describing the current regulatory landscape, the note provides industry use cases and concludes with considerations for operating a successful commercial drone program.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Describe the growth challenges for commercial-use drones.
  • Identify the four main platform categories of commercial drones.
  • Explain the segments of the commercial drone ecosystem.
  • Assess what a company must consider before purchasing drones for commercial use.