Now, it looks like the trade volume is starting to get the attention of the right people, as spillovers from defense tech are giving the whole drone sector a new edge.
Three Israeli drone start-ups have recently managed to get funding from influential angel investors, and are now aiming to colonize the world's skies.
One of them is Flytrex, a Tel-Aviv-based company led by Yariv Bash, an entrepreneur with years of experience in the aerospace industry. The company was first founded as a black box manufacturer, but last year it became one of the first in the world to release a consumer delivery drone — for just under US$600.
With backing from Skype's executives, the firm has developed sensors and software that allow a quadcopter drone to avoid collisions with other objects — an issue that has worried many commercial airliner experts of late, as hobby drones have become vastly available and near-misses are reported at a growing pace.
The company's talent has been used for years to build military equipment: it used to develop missile detection systems and vision gear for the Israeli army.
Last but not least, Rosh Haayin-based Percepto is putting military-grade tech at the service of the renewable energy sector.
It uses machine vision that allows drones to check and inspect windmills in remote areas. The project has won the financial backing of billionaires such as Mark Cuban and Xu Xiapong.