Life Cycle for Drone Technology

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By: Eirik K. Amundsen, August Groenli, Emilio Azar, and Paul Mougin

Our group decided to analyse the adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) more commonly referred to as drone technology. UAVs offer a wide range of applications and have already become important for industries such as agriculture, national defence, weather monitoring and filmmaking.

 As we can see UAVs or drones have both huge potential for private, commercial, scientific and national use. It is a relatively new technology, but there are several companies, governments and organizations, which has successfully implemented this technology. We believe this technology is positioned in different stages, relating to the application of use, but in general it is located in the innovator stage of the technology life cycle. It is receiving a great deal of attention and interest with high expectations for rapid growth in the near future. The main reason for placing this technology in the innovator stage is because of the huge potential market of users. The United States accounts for roughly 70% of the global growth and market share of UAVs today, making it the biggest segment for this technology.

 When comparing the UAVs with similar technologies it is quite evident that there are major differences, and that no other technology has the same wide range of capabilities. From a military defence point of view, the closest technology appears to be manned helicopters and missiles. These two technologies have been widely adopted and are currently placed in the last stages of its adoption. UAV technology does not completely replace these technologies, but it offers safer and more effective applications to some activities. In agriculture, the closest technology is the unmanned tractors and other self-driving machineries. It was introduced earlier than the UAVs, and most large-scale farms in developed countries have adopted it. In the western world this technology has just crossed over to the late majority.

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Using the characteristics of each adoption segment, identify those types of adopters that would tend to use it. Try to put real examples of the possible adopters. Identify some traits of the different groups of adopters for your technology

The UAV technology is still a quite new technology and is mainly adopted by the innovators. There are some examples of early adopters also participating in this adoption process. The adoption segments for this technology can be divided in three categories; civil, commercial and military/national defence.

Civil adoption:

This segment is characterized as young individuals with high financial liquidity and willingness to take risks. They are usually risk takers with a passion for technology and a lot of knowledge relating to such products. These adopters are interacting with other innovators, and have contact and interact on scientific forums and platforms. These innovators account for roughly 2,5% of the market.

Commercial adoption:

Because of the major restrictions set fourth for professional usage of UAVs, this adoption is much less visible. There are major debates relating to the regulation of use, and it has hindered a lot of commercial adoption. However, there are companies and organizations, which are using this technology on private ground or have received licences for usage in public areas. Agriculture and cargo transport is among the industries, which is adopting commercial UAVs in their operations. In these industries, it is the innovators that are adopting this technology. Big enterprises such as DHL, Amazon and so fourth, are working with both UAV manufacturers, and governments to ensure less restrictions and increased usage. Commercial adoption is well below 2,5% and all participants can be characterized as innovators.

Military/ National defence adoption:

After the terrorist attacks on the 11th of September, the United States started investing heavily in new military technologies. In many ways, they were one of the main contributors to the diffusion of this technology. You could say that they were the main innovators in this life cycle together with Israel, which also took an active part early on. After proving the applications of this technology, the diffusion rate increased. Today USA, Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, UK, Russia, China, India and Iran have adopted this technology in their military, and the adoption is expected to grow drastically the next couple of years. Most of the countries have high liquidity and a heavy focus on national defence. They are in close contact with UAV experts, and have a great opinion leadership.

The adopters of this technology fit well under one profile. It is companies, organizations, governments and individuals, who seek new tools for improving the way they operate in one-way or another. The wide range of use and the improved effectiveness and efficiency this technology contributes with, is a key driver for these segment. They are highly informed and have good relations with the manufacturers and other experts in this field.


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