Orange County Partnership - News

Report: Drones Fast Becoming a Tech Must in Real Estate

If you thought drones are a passing technology fad, think again!

Statistics from the Federal Aviation Administration clearly show that drone usage for commercial, recreational and military applications are soaring.


In May 2022, the FAA posted the following on the Drone section of its website:


“A few decades ago, drones were confined to science fiction or notions of the future. Today, unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, are rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives. They are quickly increasing in numbers and complexity. The ways we use drones range from recreation to commercial and military applications.”


According to the FAA there are a total of 865,505 drones registered, including 314,689 commercial drones and 538,172 recreational drones.


Commercial brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield in a recent article in its “The Edge” magazine entitled “Where are the Drones?” noted the unseen growth of drones in the U.S. in recent years.


Author Sandy Romero, research manager, global research for Cushman & Wakefield, wrote: “The reality is that they are prevalent, all around us—but we don’t see them because commercial drones have been working mostly behind the scenes in many sectors. From inspecting buildings to monitoring construction sites to capturing virtual tour videos, commercial drones have been making a significant impact for years, and the industry is poised for even more growth, especially in the delivery and logistics industries.”


Cushman & Wakefield reports that investment in drones, which ebbed during the early days of the pandemic, grew from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $2.3 billion in 2020, an 81% increase.


“Since then, the global drone market has further expanded and is primed for more robust growth over the next five years. In fact, the $27.4 billion drone market today is expected to more than double to approximately $60 billion by 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3%,” the report states.


In terms of the global commercial drone market by end use (2020), the top sector was media & entertainment at 27%; followed by real estate & construction at 23%, the energy sector at 21% and the security & law enforcement industry at 13%.


One particular segment of the real estate industry that has embraced the use of drones and has made accommodations for their expanded usage is the warehouse/fulfillment sector. A recent Cushman & Wakefield survey of tenant preferences found that big-box tenants—500,000+ square feet—prefer larger clear heights of 36 feet or higher.


“These changes in warehouse and fulfillment center specifications have opened the world of drones to facility operators. Wider column space and larger clear heights lend themselves well to drones, allowing for autonomous navigation systems to function optimally,” Cushman’s Romero wrote. “Additionally, inside warehouses and fulfillment centers, drones are not restrained by line-of-sight FAA regulations.” She added that the occupiers of these large facilities are utilizing drones to track all the items that are being shipped out of the facility.


To download the full Cushman & Wakefield report, go to: