Medical Drones — Revolutionising the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has been transformed by the disruptive digital technology of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Drone technology was introduced for the first time in Japan at the beginning of the 1980s to spray pesticides on rice fields. As the technology proved highly effective, research universities, start-ups and large enterprises began working together to develop other types of drones, leading to their widespread use across industries, including infrastructure, transport, insurance, media and entertainment, telecommunications, agriculture, security and mining.

While the applications of drone technology are vast and dynamic, this blog focuses primarily on drone technology within the healthcare industry; we look at market size, applications, drivers, trends, barriers and COVID-19 impact in the medical drones market.

Market forecast analysis

As per a Fior Markets report, the global medical drones market was valued at USD109.08m in 2019 and is forecast to grow at a double-digit CAGR of 24.8% to reach USD641.86m by 2027.

Types of medical drones

Medical drones can be broadly classified into three types:

Fixed-wing drones have rigid wings and can carry high-density payloads and data link equipment. Based on utility and size, these are further categorised as large, medium and small fixed-wing drones. They can fly at high altitudes and speeds and can cover large distances within a short span of time. On the flip side, fixed-wing drones are expensive and require large areas for landing and take-off.

Rotor drones are strong and similar in structure to a helicopter. These can be further classified as single-rotor or multirotor drones. Single-rotor drones are strong, flexible and can carry heavy payloads while multirotor drones are stable, cheap and easy to manufacture. Rotor drones can land and take off vertically, and hence require less area for landing and take-off; therefore, many industries prefer these drones over fixed-wing drones. However, the design and manufacture of rotor drones entail high mechanical and electronic complexity, which poses challenges to manufacturers.

Hybrid drones are the latest technology drones and use two or more energy sources for efficient flying. They are also fitted with artificial intelligence-based software, which makes them more advanced, fast and robust. As a result of these features, hybrid drones are gaining widespread use across a number of industries.

Applications of medical drones

Market drivers and trends


Impact of COVID-19 on medical drones market

Over the past two years, leading manufacturing companies, healthcare start-ups and corporates have been exploring new areas for expansion within the drone market. The medical drones market has seen positive impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the drones being used for the following applications.

1. Surveillance and delivery: Surveillance of isolated virus-infected areas and the supply of drugs, vaccines, blood and other medical devices to such regions

2. Disinfection: Aerial spraying of public areas to disinfect potentially contaminated places

3. Monitoring: Public space monitoring and guidance during lockdown and quarantine


The future of the medical drones market appears promising, particularly the next five to six years. Drone manufacturing companies are expected to adopt go-to-market strategies, M&A and new product launches to stay competitive and meet the rising demand for medical drones across the globe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw drone technology being adapted to serve the needs of consumers, manufacturers and patients. Continued development in its technology should further strengthen the use of drones not only in the healthcare industry but also across other sectors, including e-commerce, mining, chemicals, forest conservation, construction, geography mapping, filmmaking, petrochemicals (oil and gas) and public safety (law enforcement, fire departments, search and rescue operations).

How Acuity Knowledge Partners (Acuity) can help

Leveraging nearly two decades of experience in analysing historical information and projecting trends, Acuity helps clients, including life sciences and healthcare consulting firms, build and strengthen their strategies and business.

We also provide bespoke research support on therapy area assessment, indication prioritisation, market research and forecasting, M&A and due diligence and competitive intelligence.

For more information on our capabilities, please visit our Life sciences solutions page.

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About the Author

Shweta Gupta, Delivery Manager, has over 12+ years of experience in healthcare, life science research as CI and strategy consultant for pharmaceutical companies. She currently works in the private equity and consulting practice at Acuity Knowledge Partners and supports healthcare corporate and consulting clients in providing scientific, clinical and commercial insights. She has experience in competitive intelligence, therapy area assessment, mergers and acquisition, market sizing and forecasting, clinical trial analysis and scientific conference coverage. She holds hands on experience and knowledge of proprietary databases including Evaluate Pharma, Thomson Cortellis, Adisinsight, Pharmaprojects, Datamonitor and Merger Market.

Prior to Acuity Knowledge Partners, she worked as a research manager in blue-chip pharma company. In addition to this, she has also worked with Smart Analyst and WNS Global Services, and was involved in end to end planning, execution and conclusion of client deliverables. Apart from this, her major role also included team handling and business development.



We write about financial industry trends, the impact of regulatory changes and opinions on industry inflection points.

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We write about financial industry trends, the impact of regulatory changes and opinions on industry inflection points.