The South African Civil Aviation Authority in collaboration with Rocketmine has released its ‘State of the Drone’ report, looking at drone usage in South Africa.
The report found that the drone industry is growing at a rapid pace in South Africa, and as of December 2017 there are are 663 Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) registered in the country, which tallies with the growing number of Remote Pilot Licences (RPLs) issued of 686.
“This growth correlates with figures released in February 2017 of 368 RPLs and 468 RPAs, providing further proof that the drone community has come to terms with South Africa’s leading RPAS legal framework,” the report found.
“In comparison to the explosive growth seen in RPLs and registered RPAS, the number of approved operators, or ROCs, and training centres remains low with 20 ROCs and four training centres approved.”
However, the report noted that the industry is still in its infancy, and that these numbers are likely to increase due to the factors of growing market demand and as expertise filters throughout the industry.
Drones in South Africa
As part of the report, an analysis was completed on the database provided by the South African Civil Aviation Authority, which contains a list of all drone registrations completed during the period of July 2015 to April 2017.
This database includes information such as the registration number, registration date, model, manufacturer, the owner, and other identifying information.
The report found that the largest number of drones were registered for training purposes (more than half) while surveying, mapping, film & marketing, and security were all named as other uses.
Five models represent 54% of the current registration market, while the remaining 46% of the market is divided between more than 100 different models.
Of these, the most popular drone is the Phantom series from DJI, which accounted for 29% of registered RPAS in 2017.
The Chinese manufacture also secured second and fifth on the list with the ‘Inspire‘ and ‘Matrice‘ respectively.
In contrast, Sensefly’s Ebee has captured 6% of available market share for registrations, while UDS Bathawk has remained steady with a 3% share.