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The drone market will go mainstream over the next two years as regulation settles in and the industry matures, say industry bosses.

The years 2019 and 2020 will see significant jumps in the use of drones and the drone market generally, Mobilicom (ASX:MOB) co-founder Oren Elkayam said at the popular TechKnow conference last week.

>> Scroll down for a who’s who of ASX drone stocks.

The Israeli tech play makes communications equipment for drones and robotics.

Last month, aerospace behemoth Airbus placed an order for the company’s two-way drone datalink software to aid its own drone work.

Goldman Sachs estimates drones are a $100 billion market opportunity, with MRFR forecasting the market will grow a whopping 30 per cent annually.

Four reasons why drones are ready to take off

On the sidelines of the conference Mr Elkayam told Stockhead there were four key reasons why drones would become more important in the coming years.

“In the recent three to four years, the industry has been busy developing technologies that would overcome the barriers that enable the deployment of drones,” he said.

“There were four issues that had to be overcome — autonomy, security, swarms and fleets and the ability to cover larger areas.

“I believe we are now at the point where those points have been addressed.

“Autonomous drones — drones that do not need to be piloted — have allowed self-dependent drones to operate in areas like power plants or mines, without running into the issue of not having enough pilots to operate the drones that you need.

Mobilicom (ASX:MOB) shares over the past year.

“When it comes to security, drones have often used inferior tech like Wi-Fi, and if have important or sensitive data, such as in surveillance usage, you don’t want it being exposed, blocked or intervened.

“Being able to operate swarms and fleets of drones has also been a big step. If you need to, for example, deliver 50 pizzas in the space of an hour, and you’ve got five to 10 drones flying in and out, you’re effectively managing an airport, so you the need the capability to be able to control a fleet.

“And finally the ability to cover large areas is now achievable thanks to operating systems that can run over the cloud.

“So I think that, over the past few years, everything has matured and regulatory bodies now have enough confidence in deploying drones, that we will see it start to pay off for companies like ours which operate in the drone space.”

Flying into the ASX

There are several small cap drone stocks on the ASX. Most are making revenue, though none has yet to turned a profit or paid a dividend.

Mobilicom has the most cash in the bank, with $6 million.

ParaZero (ASX:PRZ) also presented at the conference.

Its SafeAir system helps ensure drones always land safely using a variety of measures such as cutting power to the motors, deploying a patented ballistic parachute, and an audio warning buzzer.

DroneShield (ASX:DRO) could be described as a drone-killer; it makes ‘DroneGuns’ that intercept and scramble unfriendly drones.

It has received two big orders in the past two months, one from an undisclosed Middle Eastern country and another from an undisclosed Central American country.

DroneShield has the biggest market cap at $26.3m and also the best 200-day share price average at 18.2c.

Department 13 (ASX:D13) also makes counter drone technology.

Their flagship product MESMER can detect, identify and assume control of unauthorised drones in a defined airspace.  The MESMER solution can be deployed in a mobile or fixed location.

Back in May, Canary Capital drone expert Martin Duriska said widespread adoption of drone technology was “inevitable”.

* Department 13 revenue and profit is for the full 2018 financial year, not the half 2018 calendar year.

ASX codeCompany200-day price avgHY18 revenueHY18 profit/lossCash at bankMarket cap
MOBMobilicom7.7c$1.4m($1.3m)$6m$18.9m
PRZParaZero16c$399k($1.5m)$2.1m$11.4m
DRODroneShield18.2c$237k($3.6m)$855k$26.3m
D13Department 137.4c$2.7m*($6.9m)*$2.4m$26.1m