• "Pocketable" drones are becoming a trend.

"Pocketable" drones are becoming a trend.

Once limited to a certain niche, drones have finally found their way in the hands of ordinary commercial users. This is evident in recently released models from known drone makers such as Shenzhen-based DJI Innovation Technology Co.

In a report, China.org discussed how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) transformed from an expensive flying machine exclusive only to specific markets to portable devices that can be manufactured en masse and purchased by ordinary people.

Like Us on Facebook

"The 'pocketable' [UAVs] is no longer a flight of fancy and the concept has taken off from the drawing board and into the skies. Drone manufacturers are stepping up efforts in foldable and intelligent products and this will see the consumer drone market take flight, China.org said, citing analysts.

Currently, the UAV industry is dominated by DJI, but many other makers, particularly those from China, have joined the competition and helped to push prices down.

With more manufacturers joining the drone craze, industry stalwarts are trying to maintain their dominance by introducing smarter features and smaller sizes.

For example, DJI released recently the Mavic Pro, a UAV that can fold up to the size of a water bottle. This UAV sells for $1,000 and is seen as directly competing against GoPro's Karma drone.

"In the past 10 years we were always thinking about how to optimize the operational experience of drones and never stopped updating the products in either their appearance or function. We hope users can tell an aerial photography story in an unprecedented way," Frank Wang, founder and chief executive officer of DJI, was quoted as saying by China.org

GoPro, a relatively newcomer in the UAV industry, introduced the Karma drone, which integrates features such as obstacle avoidance and comes with a carrying case to highlight its biggest selling point-portability.

Another China maker joining the action is Tencent, which unveiled a 425g drone that allows users to upload photos and live-stream videos to WeChat. The drone is under $300, making it a suitable starting point for new drone hobbyists.

"With the rapid growth of portable and entertainment-type drones, at affordable prices, the consumer drone market is predicted to take off," wrote China.org.