Will it be harder to purchase new drones in 2021, if a chip shortage adversely impacts the drone industry?
With the current global chip shortage, any company that utilizes micro controllers might find it difficult to mass produce electronics. Televisions might be harder to buy, airplanes might be harder to buy. So will small industrial appliances and anything that uses a micro controller.
This supply chain shortage isn't just a drop in the bucket, GM stated they might lose up to $2 Billion. Manufacturers are utilizing any tactic possible to maintain a supply chain of chips. With the chips, manufacturers can continue to produce automobiles, electronics, appliances and even drones. The true concern rests with how much the chip shortage will inhibit pilots ability to purchase new drones. The drone industry has promised many new aircraft for 2021.
Most drones that drone pilots fly, now-a-days, contain at least one if not numerous micro controllers. Whether you want to fly a Chinese made drone, or an American made drone... it will need one of these "chips." When automakers are warning of massive production shortfalls due to chip shortages, the question remains about how the shortage will impact the drone industry.
Some drones utilize these micro controllers to deliver autonomous flight plans. Drones that utilize computer vision or LIDAR or require complex computer vision might be impacted more than consumer drones.
When DJI was placed on the entity list, American drone manufacturers were given the green light to take over the consumer drone market. 2021 marks the push for American Made drones, yet are they being setup for a failure to launch?
The environment for American drone manufacturers isn't starting out on solid ground. The chip shortage is more likely to impact American manufacturers ability to acquire chips. American manufacturers might be producing drones, but not at the volume of their Asian or French competitors. Drone manufacturers who have a history of doing large volume business, might find it easier to coerce suppliers to provide the necessary chips. Business relationships built over time are hard to break.
Money talks, bull ships walk... or at least don't fly.
Drone pilots avidly await the arrival of many new drones from Freefly, Sony & DJI. Few American manufacturers have delivered new aircraft to the consumers. American heavy-lift manufacturers like Watts Innovations have delivered on promises of new aircraft for 2021, but will the chip shortage affect their ability to continue to do so?
Will this chip shortage inhibit American manufacturers ability to produce new aircraft at scale? Is the shortage going to cause a delay in the production of aircraft the industry has already been promised? How about a drone shortage? Only time will tell, but production limitations seems likely.
Hopefully the drones collecting dust might increase in value? We will keep dreaming...
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