The emerging global market for business services using drones is potentially worth more than $127bn, according to a PwC study.
Infrastructure is likely to lead the way, accounting for $45.2bn of that amount, closely followed by agriculture, which will account for $32.4bn.
Transport, security, media and entertainment and insurance will make up $13bn, $10bn, $8.8bn, and $6.8bn respectively, while telecommunications and mining will account for $6.3bn and $4.4bn.
PwC said these figures represented the value of current business services and labour that were likely to be replaced in the very near future by drone-powered solutions.
These solutions are best suited to sectors which require mobility and high data quality, as well as businesses that manage assets dispersed over large areas.
Large capital projects, infrastructure maintenance and agriculture are all sectors where drone use is likely to thrive.
The report also predicts that drones will change the concept of last-mile delivery within the transport industry.
“Worldwide, drones equipped with cameras and sensors provide companies with more comprehensive data,” said the report.
“They are also are involved in the transport and precise operational activities, exerting an increasing influence on business strategies of enterprises.”
The study follows PwC’s opening of a global centre of excellence in Poland that uses drones and data analytics to help clients solve business challenges.
Michal Mazur, partner and head of drone-powered solutions at PwC for Central and Eastern Europe, said: “We are currently in discussion with several major companies from a wide range of industries about how they can use drones to improve their business processes.
“With an estimated market value of over $127bn in commercial applications, drones are making the transition from novelty item to indispensable business tool.”