The Iraqi Army Is Flying Chinese-Made Killer Drones
Jun 6, 2016
- The CH-4s are flying from Al-Hayy airbase in support of operations in Anbar province, site of Ramadi and Fallujah, where heavy fighting has been taking place. A recent Iraqi video (warning: graphic combat footage) shows four drone strikes, and claims that the drones destroyed one suicide car bomb before it could be used, two other vehicles carrying fighters, and a covered trench occupied by ISIS. The CH-4s in Iraq are armed with a mixture of missiles and bombs. The laser-guided AR-1 is China’s answer to the Hellfire, but is slightly faster—it’s supersonic rather than subsonic, so it cannot be heard until it hits. The FT-9 is a 100-lb. satellite-guided bomb with a claimed accuracy of better than 15 feet. The makers deny that it relies on the American-built GPS system, so the weapons may use the Russian GLONASS or even the new Chinese Beidou navigation satellites.
China’s drone industry to exceed $11 bn by 2025
June 6, 2016
- At the end of 2025, the unmanned aerial vehicles will be applied largely in aerial photo shooting, farm chemical spraying and forest protection, as well as security service, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the research paper of iResearch consultancy firm as saying yesterday. The research paper estimated that China’s robust and fast developing drone industry’s market value is likely to reach 75 billion yuan ($11.54 billion) by 2025.
China Tested an Upgraded CH-4 “Rainbow” Weaponized Drone
Jun 5, 2016
- China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has recently tested a new version of the Caihong-4 (CH-4) “Rainbow” drone equipped with satellite control and improved EO payloads supporting HD standards. During the test last month, the drone launched AR-1 missiles which struck their targets with high precision. Two tests were conducted, one with the current version of the aircraft, fitted with a new SATCOM data link, the second test also employed an upgraded electro-optical payload.
Xiaomi Mi Drone poses price challenge to DJI
25 May 2016
- Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced its first drone, pricing it significantly lower than a comparable model by the market leader DJI. The Mi Drone can stay airborne for nearly half an hour and will be sold with a choice of stabilised cameras. The move gives Xiaomi the chance to target a fast-growing market, at a time when it has failed to meet its own sales targets.
Future of consumer drones may be in China
- The future of drones, the buzzing devices that increasingly fill the skies above our heads, may be in China where drone maker DJI is the dominant force in the global consumer drone market, CNN reported. Since its Phantom 1 model wowed the world in 2012, the tech startup has led the fledgling industry. It now says the future of the device will be decided more by customers than manufacturers.
Binocular vision-based UAVs autonomous aerial refueling platform—pilots are no longer needed
May 16, 2016
- Researchers developed a platform to simulate AAR via real-time simulation. The system includes an octocoptor serving as a tanker UAV and a hexacoptor serving as receiver. When the receiver appears in the visual field of the cameras on the tanker (about 5 meters), the binocular vision system captures the marker on the receiver. The onboard “next-unit of computing” processor (NUC) analyzes the images and estimates the position of the receiver. Then the visual information obtained from the vision system is transferred to the flight controller and boom controller to control the flight of the UAVs and the movement of the boom towards receptacle. Figure 1 shows the configuration of our binocular vision-based UAVs autonomous aerial refueling platform. Haibin Duan et al, A binocular vision-based UAVs autonomous aerial refueling platform, Science China Information Sciences (2016).
China’s first goods transporting drone completes maiden flight
- China’s first mid-long range emergency supplies transporting drone successfully completed its maiden flight on Tuesday. The fixed-wing drone can carry 15 kilograms of goods on flight of up to 80 kilometers and make accurate delivery within a range of 15 meters, marking a breakthrough in terms of mileage, load, and short distance of take-off and landing compared with other drones available at the moment.
Human-carrying drone Ehang 184 to deliver artificial organs for emergency transplants
May 5, 2016
- Chinese drone technology firm Ehang has signed a major deal with US-based regenerative medicine firm Lung Biotechnology to provide 1,000 units of the world’s first autonomous drone for humans, making it possible to speed up the transportation of artificial human organs for transplants. At January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) in Las Vegas, Ehang unveiled its oneseat, human-carrying drone Ehang 184 to the world for the first time. The autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is 4.5ft tall and weighs 440lbs.
China’s Mini-Drone Packs a Heavyweight Punch
May 5, 2016
- China just revealed details of its CH-901 tube-launched loitering munition, a portable killer drone that a soldier can carry and then launch from the field to track down and attack opponents. The Chinese are not the first in this area—the U.S. unveiled the Switchblade in 2011 and has used it in Afghanistan. But this is a big move for the Chinese military.
China Exporting Military Drones Worth Millions Of Dollars
- China exported military drones worth hundreds of millions of dollars to over 10 countries, state-run media said Thursday. The Asian powerhouse also plans to sell unmanned aircraft capable of launching laser-guided bombs. Chinese drones “have bigger payloads, which means they can carry more weapons” than their rivals, Shi Wen, chief drone designer at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, told the China Daily newspaper. Shi did not name the countries that bought the drones, the numbers of drones sold or the exact deal value, but said that the academy’s most valuable sale was worth “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.”
China deploys drones to hunt down sources of air pollution
12 Apr 2016
- Three unmanned aerial vehicles have been deployed by China at its environment monitoring station in Hebei to identify possible polluting activities and help cut down pollution in the province. The UAVs, two with fixed-wings and one with multi-rotors, will take aerial photographs of suspect factories and workshops to provide evidence of polluting activities.
College to launch drone operator specialty
- A technical college in Guangzhou is establishing a new specialty to meet the growing demand for feishou, or drone operators, in prosperous Guangdong province. The drone specialty is expected to become a signature subject at the college and attract a large number of high school graduates in the years ahead, since it should be easy for students to find jobs upon graduation, Lu said. About 50 students are expected in the first class.
China swooping in on military drone market
April 1, 2016
- Earlier this year, Nigeria confirmed using a Chinese-made CH-3 in its fight against Boko Haram, while Iraq appears to have used a CH-4 starting late 2015. In addition, Pakistan is now using a platform suspiciously resembling the CH-3, despite official reports that the drone is indigenously produced. (At the least, this probably would have required considerable collaboration from the Chinese and may have been assembled in Pakistan from Chinese-made components). Meanwhile, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are thought to have bought similar drones from China. In addition, a large arms market can be seen as a symbol of prestige. Much like its space program, which signals China’s status as an advanced industrialized country, a global network of drone exports based on its own indigenous military capabilities suggests that China is a force to be reckoned with. This dynamic becomes a positive feedback loop that helps cultivate its defense base — the more weapons China sells, the more resources it has to invest in research and development, and the more attractive its defense innovations become to potential importers.
The Underwater Drone Manufacturer That Wants To Be China’s Next DJI
Mar 30, 2016
- Deepfar, an ROV manufacturer in China, just released their latest series called White Shark, which can dive deep up to 100 meters, or 328 feet, with a battery life of over 2 hours. White Shark MINI is able to film two-megapixel videos underwater, and the other White Shark MAX, which targets professional customers like filmmakers and aquarium staff, can move with other gadgets attached, such as 3D cameras, GPS, and sonar, which is used to detect underwater objects by sending and receiving sound waves.
Chinese submersible explores deep-sea hydrothermal area
Mar 24, 2016
- The Qianlong-2, a Chinese unmanned underwater vehicle, recently explored a deep-sea hydrothermal area in the Indian Ocean, collecting data and taking high-definition photos of landforms and marine organisms.
Drone Maker DJI Sets up Agricultural Services Network
Mar 22, 2016
- DJI said that it will train 10,000 people across China in UAV operations, and will also set up 100 centers offering after-sales service nationwide, according to China Daily. DJI added that it will give subsidies to up to 10,000 people who are planning to start a business in agricultural drones.
China unveils its first armed drone helicopter aimed at close-range unmanned combat
March 21, 2016
- China’s growing defense industry has quickly made a name for itself, especially in drones. Government produced CH-3 and CH-4 combat drones are already used worldwide, including by the Iraqi and Nigerian governments. Now NORINCO, one of the country’s largest state-owned corporations, is getting into the the act with a drone of its own. Dubbed the Sky Saker H300, this helicopter drone sports electro-optical and infrared cameras and laser-targeted designators. It also has two missile launch tubes mounted on either side of the fuselage, and a total weight of about 200 kilograms when fully loaded.
Drone boasting AI unveiled in China
- DJI Technology, the world’s largest consumer drone maker in terms of market share, has unveiled its new product equipped with artificial intelligence to Chinese users on Saturday. Phantom 4, which can avoid obstacles and track objects in operation, marked the company’s further efforts to increase its global market share in the drone industry with smart technologies, said Qiao Yan, chief executive officer of DJI Studio.
China’s Drone Maker DJI Sets Sights on Japanese Market After Laws Relaxed
Mar 05, 2016
- Leading Chinese consumer drone maker DJI is aiming to sell drones in the potentially profitable Japanese market after regulations on drones were eased in the country three months ago, according to a report by technologynewschina.com.
China: A rising drone weapons dealer to the world
5 Mar 2016
- Along with Iraq, several Middle Eastern states have purchased China’s weaponized drone technology. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE have all reportedly imported armed drones from China, as have Nigeria and, some suspect, Somalia (the Somali army admits to having purchased armed drones, though it won’t disclose the seller). Iraq and Pakistan have used them in combat, launching strikes at militants within their own borders. The list of states that now possess weapons-capable Chinese drones likely reaches beyond those enumerated above. Unhindered by the same international agreements as the United States or the same concerns about armed-drone proliferation, China has made a concerted push into the international arms market, offering weaponized drones that are easier to get and far less expensive than U.S. drone technologies. According to some analyst estimates, cash-strapped militaries can purchase an armed Chinese drone for just $1 million — roughly a quarter of the asking price of comparable U.S. technology.
DJI will now cover the cost of repairs if you crash your drone
February 23, 2016
- It can be thrilling to fly your drone at top speed low to the ground, but that’s also asking for trouble, since accidents can be quite expensive. Owners of DJI drones, the Phantom or the Inspire, can now push the limit without worrying about covering the full cost of repairs. The drone maker is now selling what it calls DJI Care — a basic insurance plan to reimburse customers for their drone repairs. The damage has to come from normal use, so if you chip the drone or somehow disconnect the camera mid-flight, DJI will cover those repairs, according to its FAQ page. The plan is only available for the Inspire 1 C2.0 with its X3 gimbal camera and the Phantom 3 series.
China’s drone market: 5 things to watch out for
18 Feb 2016
- The sky’s the limit for drone makers looking to tap into China’s nascent drones market, with a research firm forecasting an over seven-fold increase in camera drone shipments over the next three years as the devices gain wider usage. Research firm IDC recently said it estimates camera drone shipments in the Chinese mainland to hit 3 million units by 2019, up from their prediction of 390,000 shipments in 2016.
Did China’s Military Drone Technology Espionage Pay Off in the End?
February 19, 2016
- To be sure, Gertz makes clear that no one can prove, as of yet, that China acquired information about U.S. drones through illicit means. And even if China did acquire data from General Atomics, the Department of the Defense, or the myriad of contractors, subcontractors, and law firms associated with the development and sale of U.S. weapons, it is by no means clear that China’s defense industry could absorb this data in ways consequential to the construction of its own drones. Moreover, the basic components of the Reaper drone are not particularly sophisticated. The Reaper is a relatively simple airframe, dependent for its success on a set of technological advances in computing and communications that China already has access to through the civilian market. Much of what looked like industrial espionage during the Cold War actually involved parallel development, sometimes supported by legitimate, open-source acquisition of technological innovation. Put differently, even without secret data about the Reaper and other U.S. drones, China could likely construct an aircraft of similar capabilities.
Chinese Drones Likely to Play Key Role in Areas of Conflict
February 05, 2016
- China has quickly emerged as a leading player in the international race for drone manufacturing, with the products already playing a key role in disputed areas of Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and North Korea. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from China have been used against Islamic State forces by Iraqi security units, causing serious casualties in mid-December, military watchers said.
DJI To Open Second Stunning Retail Store In Seoul
1 February 2016
- The store will be built in Seoul, South Korea, and follows on the heels of a store opened in Shenzen, China, in December. As in the first store, the new one will show off more than just the company’s drones, also showcasing its range of cameras, including devices like the DJI Osmo, a 4K, 3-axis stabilized handheld camera.
Drone schools spread in China to field pilots for new sector
January 31, 2016
- China is already the world’s biggest drone manufacturer, churning out remote-controlled flying machines that range from 3-D urban mappers to tear-gas spraying models for police. But it lacks qualified pilots to fly them. Young men in particular are flocking to drone schools such as TT Aviation Technology Co., one of more than 40 in China, hoping to land a potentially lucrative job in an exciting new field.
Chinese retailing giant tests drone delivery in rural areas
January 29, 2016
- China’s online retailing giant JD.Com has started conducting trial deliveries using drones, and plan to roll it out for delivery in rural China, the state media reported today. The company said the unmanned aerial vehicles or drones will not deliver packages directly to shoppers but will instead help transport bundles of items from its distribution stations to 150,000 representatives mobilised across rural China who will then get them to shoppers.
First Click: I, for one, welcome our Chinese drone overlords
January 20th, 2016
- Drones are quickly shaping up to be the first breakthrough category of consumer electronics to have been invented and then dominated by Chinese companies. You could make the claim about hoverboards, too, but there’s no clear origin for those rideables. Testament, perhaps, to the speed and brashness of China’s copycat culture. The invention of the modern mid-range and prosumer drone, on the other hand, points to just one company: DJI. Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) was founded by Frank Wang Tao, born in China and educated at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology after first being rejected by MIT and Stanford. DJI was born in Wang’s dorm room in 2006, and reached maturity with the launch of the Phantom in 2013. DJI is now located in Shenzhen, a Chinese city that sits smack in the center of the biggest and most nimble technology supply chain the world has ever known.
Exports of China-made drones soar
January 10, 2016
- Civilian drones have become another of China’s hot-selling tech products along with high-speed rails and cell phones, with exports soaring in the January-November period in 2015. According to customs in the southern city of Shenzhen, where 99 percent of China’s civilian drones are exported from, exports amounted to 2.7 billion yuan ($412 million) from January to November, which was 9.2 times from the same period in 2014, reports Xinhua news agency. The Shenzhen-based technology firm DJI, a leading manufacturer of commercial and recreational drones for aerial photography and videography, has gained control of almost 70 percent of the civilian drone market share worldwide, with Europe and North America its biggest customers.
DJI – Meet the New SkyPixel
Jan 6, 2016
- Both a gallery and a cinema dedicated to the art of aerial imagery, SkyPixel is a community where photographers and filmmakers can meet, share and be inspired. Now with support for standard 360 photography, there’s no better home for creators to showcase all the beauty our world has to offer. Join SkyPixel today and see the world from a new perspective.
Chinese drone maker unveils human-carrying drone
January 6, 2016
- Chinese drone maker Ehang Inc. on Wednesday unveiled what it calls the world’s first drone capable of carrying a human passenger. The Guangzhou, China-based company pulled the cloth off the Ehang 184 at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the CES gadget show. In a company video showing it flying, it looks like a small helicopter but with four doubled propellers spinning parallel to the ground like other drones. The electric-powered drone can be fully charged in two hours, carry up to 220 pounds and fly for 23 minutes at sea level, according to Ehang. The cabin fits one person and a small backpack and even has air conditioning and a reading light. With propellers folded up, it’s designed to fit in a single parking spot.
DJI – Unveiling the DJI Flagship Store
Dec 31, 2015
- Take a glimpse inside DJI’s brand new flagship store, a marvel of architectural design and engineering that blends Chinese design elements with international sensibilities.
There’s No Hiding From DJI’s Thermal-Imaging Drones
- DJI has partenered up with thermal-imaging manufacturer FLIR to produce the Zenmuse XT, a thermal-imaging camera that will integrate onto the gimbal on DJI’s existing Inspire 1 and Matrice 100 drones. That means all the advantages that DJI has become famous for—stupid-simple operation, live-streaming first-person video and good performance—will transfer over to a thermal-imaging platform.
CAAC to Issue New Rules to Restrict Illegal Flying of Civilian Drones
Dec 01, 2015
- The government is set to publish new regulations for civilian unmanned aircraft and help put an end to irregular flights, China Daily reported. Ke Yubao, executive secretary-general of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of China, said on Monday, Nov. 30, that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is soliciting suggestions and opinions after drafting a provisional regulation on the operation of light-duty civilian drones.
China’s DJI launches a crop dusting drone for farmers
Nov 27, 2015
- DJI today branched out of the consumer drone market and revealed the DJI Agras MG-1, a drone with eight rotors that can carry just over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of liquid for crop-spraying purposes. It’s the company’s first agricultural drone.
China displays its strongest drone CH-5 that can carry 3000 kg, eyes export markets
November 21, 2015
- Chinese military displayed the CH-5 combat and reconnaissance drone, developed by China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp at Shenzhen in Guangdong province, yesterday in an attempt to attract more buyers for its combat drones. Compared with other military drones that usually have a maximum take-off weight of less than 1,500 kg, the CH-5 is much more powerful and is able to fly with a weight of 3,000 kg and carry 900 kg of equipment and weapons, according to engineers at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics.
Chinese military to introduce ‘paragliding drones’
Nov. 10, 2015
- China’s military engineers have conducted tests of a “paragliding drone” in Tibet, and the new technology is expected to be deployed as cargo transport during military operations and disaster relief missions. The drone uses a powered parachute for liftoff, instead of wings or rotors. Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shenyang Institute of Automation conducted the tests, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday. The institute is presided over by China North Industries Group Corp., the country’s largest arms producer.
Ghost Drone 2.0’s camera can be controlled via VR goggles
November 8, 2015
- In the year since the release of the Ghost Drone, camera-equipped quadcopters that can autonomously track a subject haven’t exactly become par for the course, but that feature is no longer enough to set them apart from the crowd either. In its ongoing search for a point of difference, the Chinese maker of the Ghost Drone has returned with a new and improved version, which allows pilots to don a set of virtual reality goggles and control the direction of the drone’s camera simply by moving their head.
Chinese Heli-Drone Makes First Dubai Showing
Nov 9, 2015
- After a toe-in-the-water appearance at last year’s Singapore Airshow, Beijing Zhong-Han-Zhi Science & Technology has come to Dubai to further promote its TD220 coaxial-rotor UAV on the international market. Parked adjacent to the Airbus static display chalet, the craft is a heavier version of that previously shown, being a 220ME model with twin tailfins and an 816 lb (370 kg) take-off weight, including a 220 lb (100 kg) surveillance payload in a chin sensor turret. Range is 80 nmi (150 km) and endurance 6 hrs.
Chinese firm DJI leads new ‘drone age’
November 5, 2015
- And when you hear that telltale hum, it’s more than likely from a camera drone made by China’s DJI. The company behind the sleek Phantom is the leader in consumer drones with well over 70% of the global market. Though DJI underplays its Chinese origins with its Western-friendly corporate branding, the company admits that being based in Shenzhen has been a big factor behind its success.
China opens drone schools as demand for pilots soars
4 November 2015
- New aviation schools are opening across China to meet a growing demand for commercial pilots to fly small, remote-controlled aircraft, or drones. It is estimated the country’s maintenance, mapping, filming and agricultural industries will need more than 10,000 drone pilots this year. There are currently less than 1,000 people licensed to fly drones and new schools, like that just opened in Beijing, are hoping to give students the skills they need to get work as professional remote-control pilots.
DJI takes on Intel and Qualcomm with its own supercomputer for drones
November 2, 2015
- For the last two years our favorite drone here at The Verge has been the DJI Phantom. The Chinese startup has succeeded in large part because it built a unit cheap and easy enough for consumers, but powerful enough for professionals. Now that the FAA is granting commercial exemptions and US companies are finally taking flight, the majority of them are choosing to use DJI’s consumer-facing drones for their business. Today, DJI announced the launch of the Manifold, a powerful computer that could allow DJI drones to perform far more complex mapping, data analysis, and image recognition, all in real time. In making its own computer for advanced drone applications, DJI is taking on companies like Qualcomm and Intel, both of which have products in the works they hope will be the foundation underlying advanced computation for aerial robots. We saw Intel’s RealSense powering cutting edge sense-and-avoid technology. More recently, Qualcomm announced SnapDragon Flight, a chipset optimized for use in drones. The Manifold runs an Ubuntu operating system and has a Quad-core ARM Cortex A-15 Processor and NVIDIA Kepler-based GPU. It also comes with USB, Ethernet, and HDMI ports.
China’s DJI will develop drones in Palo Alto
October 29, 2015
- The Chinese consumer technology giant will open a new Silicon Valley research and development center that could house dozens of engineers. DJI, the leading manufacturer of consumer drones, is building a new research and development center in Palo Alto, Calif., that could hold 75 or more engineers, according to several job listings posted in recent weeks.
Footage of a DJI Factory Shot During a Drone Camera Test
Oct 14, 2015
- This footage was found on a DJI x5 drone camera, which was assembled and tested at one of the company’s China drone manufacturing facilities. Normally this footage is deleted before it’s shipped to customers, but someone forgot to delete it on this camera.
Iraq launches its new Chinese Ch-4B drone العراق يطلق أولى طائراته الصينية بدون طيار لقصف داعش
Oct 10, 2015
China helps Iraq military enter drone era
12 October 2015
- Video released by Iraq’s military shows a fully armed Chinese-supplied CH-4 drone being inspected on the tarmac. The CH-4 can be used both for intelligence gathering and strike missions. The latest video shows the UAV armed with what looks like a Chinese AR-1 laser-guided missile specifically designed to be used from drones.
Chinese drone pioneer DJI is still gaining altitude
Jonathan Margolis October 13, 2015 1:59 pm
- All this renders the achievement of the Chinese drone company DJI more remarkable. Founded in 2006 by a mainland Chinese electrical engineering student, Frank Wang, in his Hong Kong university dorm room, DJI’s first fly-out-the box Phantom consumer drone appeared less than three years ago. Today, DJI is a global company with a valuation of $8bn-$10bn and more than 4,000 employees in China, the US, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany.
- With DJI, there was no sketchy, half-baked early version, no unintentionally funny instructions. From the off everything was near perfect, from the design and manufacturing to the packaging to the website.
- Since the Phantom took off in 2013, drones have been used or proposed for: delivering goods to consumers within 30 minutes of ordering; delivering mail in the Australian outback; taking paparazzi photos; searching for missing people; getting aerial news footage; getting medicines to isolated African villages; staging political protest; planting forests in inhospitable terrain; infiltrating contraband into prisons; spraying crops; exercising dogs; acting as lookouts for criminals; dispersing chemical agents for terrorists; hunting in warehouses for bar coded packages.
- Too science fiction-ish, maybe, for a pragmatic Chinese business. But DJI is hardly standing still. The most exciting idea I heard in Hong Kong was that you could soon be flying your drone while streaming 4K video to a virtual reality headset, so the on-board camera swivels in precise accordance with your head movements — turning you, effectively, into a seagull.
China Named Top Manufacturer of UAVs
Vanna Emia | Sep 18, 2015 06:34 AM EDT
- In a report by the Global Times, China has become the world’s top developer of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and as such, experts present during the 2015 China UAS Innovation and Development Forum that the country has to eventually regulate the booming industry.
China’s incremental step from hypersonic missile to air launched hypersonic drone
September 21, 2015
- On Friday, a report surfaced claiming that the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) had completed a successful test flight of an unspecified new aircraft, adding that it was a breakthrough in hypersonic aircraft technology.
- It is believed China’s AVIC is developing a new high-altitude, hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle requiring a carrier aircraft such as an H-6 twin-engine bomber. The drone will be launched once it is carried to a high enough altitude and will climb by itself to cruising altitude before traveling at hypersonic speed, KKTT said, adding that the drone will be able to return to base itself. China’s drone would be a tiny incremental step beyond a hypersonic missile. It would be a hypersonic smart missile that could land.
Guangdong to introduce drone battery standards in 2016
Staff Reporter 2015-09-27
- Guangdong province in southern China, home of the world’s largest consumer drone manufacturer DJI, will roll out standards in June 2016 for the production of lithium ion batteries for drones, Shanghai’s National Business Daily reports.
- The Guangdong Testing Institute of Product Quality Supervision (GQI) on Sept. 16 held a seminar for some 20 drone battery manufacturing companies to discuss issues related to establishing safety standards, said He Lungpin, a GQI engineer.
- As Guangdong hosts 80% of China’s enterprises in China that manufacture drones and drone batteries, the formulation of standards for lithium ion battery production will help promote the development of the country’s drone battery sector, said Li Zhenqiang, an industry expert.
Shen Diao drone could track and guide missiles to US warships
Staff Reporter 2015-09-30
- The Shen Diao unmanned aerial vehicle. (Internet photo)http://i.imgur.com/V8SIVxm.jpg
- Shen Diao, China’s new unmanned aerial vehicle also known as the Divine Eagle, could be used to track the location of US aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific and guide DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles to their target, according to overseas Chinese news outlet Duowei News.
- With the assistance of Sky Wing III and Shen Diao, the Second Artillery Corps, the PLA’s strategic missile force, will be capable of launching increasingly precise attacks against US warships with its DF-21D missile. The Shen Diao can additionally serve as an early warning aircraft for the PLA Air Force, as it is equipped with a larger radar than the Sky Wing III.
Drone Maker DJI Releases 4K Steadicam Osmo: Impressive And Affordable
By Romellaine Arsenio, Tech Times | October 10, 2:29 AM
- On Thursday, Oct. 8, Chinese tech company DJI, known for its drones and aerial photography systems, launched the Osmo 4K steadicam. As expected, the gadget is highly innovative – and a bit robotic.
- Osmo is packed with DJI’s breakthrough three-axis gimbal stabilization technology the company uses on its drones, most notably its Phantom drones. From eliminating blurry aerial shots, the stabilization attribute will now ensure users that their travel videos and selfies will be sharp and shake-free.
- Introducing the DJI Osmo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-7BPt4bJjU
Murphy’s Law: Chinese UAVs Are Everywhere
August 6, 2015
- Meanwhile China is quite proud of its thriving commercial UAV industry, which produced a wide range of models. For example in mid-2014 China announced that a civilian UAV, used for mapping and land use surveys, recently stayed in the air for 30 hours, setting a record for Chinese UAVs. The previous record for Chinese UAVs was 16 hours. This long endurance UAV was developed by a government agency (CASM, or Chinese Academy of Surveying & Mapping) and has limited military use. CASM has developed several small UAVs for survey duties. These UAVs all feature lightweight materials and tend to be under 50 kg (110 pounds) with small payloads (usually 5 kg/11 pounds). These take advantage of new lightweight and powerful cameras to economically monitor Chinese farming and natural resources. Some of these UAVs are also believed to be used by the police and security services.
- For several decades a growing number of Chinese commercial firms have been developing military UAVs. One of the most powerful of these is the Wing Loong (that’s Chinese for Pterodactyl, a Jurassic period flying dinosaur) UAV which can be equipped to carry two BA-7 laser guided missiles (similar to the Hellfire) or two 60 kg (110 pound) GPS guided bombs (similar to the U.S. SDB). This large UAV has been around for a while. Since 2008 Chinese aircraft manufacturer (AVIC) has been showing off photos and videos of a prototype for a clone of the American MQ-1 Predator UAV that tuned out to be Wing Loong. In 2012 one was first seen in flight, over the capital of Uzbekistan, which, along with UAE (United Arab Emirates) were the first export customers. It was later revealed that development on Wing Loong began in 2005, first flight was in 2007 and Chinese troops got the first ones in 2008 for further testing.
- While Wing Loong is similar in shape to the larger American MQ-9 Reaper, in size it’s almost identical to the 1.2 ton Predator. Wing Loong weighs 1.1 tons, has a 14 meter (46 feet) wingspan, and is 9 meters (28 feet) long. It has max altitude of 5,300 meters (16,400 feet) and an endurance of over 20 hours. Payload is 200 kg.
Tablet makers in China move into drone production
Staff Reporter 2015-08-09
- More than 10 former tablet makers in China displayed their latest drone products at the 2015 Global Sources Electronics Show held in April in Hong Kong, including Shenzhen South Digital, previously a maker of smartwatches and tablets. A spokesperson for the firm told the paper that market demand for drones is considerable and the company is technologically capable of moving into drone manufacturing.
- Many tablet makers have placed orders with drone designers. “It will take three to six months to complete the design of a drone model, and many tablet makers have contacted us directly for providing them with prototypes of drones,” said a senior executive at DAGU Hi-Tech Electronic, a designer of robots and drones in Shenzhen.
Drone explosion? Nearly $200M has been poured into China’s drone industry in the past few months
C. Custer 8:00 am on Aug 28, 2015
- China’s economy may have hit some turbulence this week, but its drone industry sure didn’t. Hot on the heels of Ehang’s US$42 million series B earlier this week, yet another Chinese drone startup has raised a big round. This time it’s Yuneec, which has bagged a big US$60 million round from Intel.
- So, China’s drone startups have raised more then US$100 million in the past week. Extend the clock back a few months to include DJI’s US$75 million round and Aheadx’s multimillion-dollar seed round, and the counter gets pretty close to US$200 million.
- Why are investors pouring their money into Chinese drone startups? It’s an obvious growth market. The global consumer drone industry is expected to climb to a value of nearly US$4 billion over the next ten years. Given that drone technology also has numerous commercial and military applications (the defense drone market is already worth around US$8 billion), the future for drone growth looks bright. And DJI’s global success has already demonstrated that Chinese tech companies are more than capable of leading this market.
China’s homegrown “Rainbow 5” drone completes maiden flight
New CH-5 drone can carry 8 AR-1 missiles and FT-7 bombs
Staff Reporter 2015-09-07
- Made predominantly with composite materials, the CH-5, which reportedly completed its maiden flight last month, has a wingspan of 20 meters, an endurance of more than 30 hours, a maximum take-off weight reaching three tons and a payload of around 900 kilometers. The UAV is an all-round upgrade over its predecessor, the CH-4, which has a wingspan of 18m, a take-off weight of 1.3 tons and a payload of 350kg.
- The CH-5 can also carry more warheads and heavier weapons. While the CH-4 can only equip weapons weighing 100kg or below such as the AR-1 missile and the FT-5 small diameter bomb, the CH-5 can equip weapons weighing around 130kg, meaning it is capable of carrying the FT-7 precision-guided bomb — which has a range of up to 90km — currently being developed by the CASC. Under similar conditions, the CH-4 can carry around six AR-1 missiles, while the CH-5 can carry eight or more.
Drone buddies: Russia, China work on first MRLS-delivered scout UAV
Published time: 9 Sep, 2015 14:22
- Russian and Chinese engineers have allied to develop the first-ever reconnaissance drone instantly delivered to battlefields as far as 90km away using a powerful projectile of a multiple launch rocket system.
- “This system makes tactical intelligence really fast, because the UAV is delivered to a desired distance – which could be up to 90km – by a projectile flying with tremendous speed,” Deputy Director of Techmash Concern, Dmitry Rytenkov, said at the Russia Arms Expo 2015 in Nizhny Tagil on Wednesday.
Chinese Pilots Are in High Demand—For Drones
With skilled pilots needed in an increasing number of industries, students hope to enter a potentially lucrative occupation.
Linda Poon @linpoonsays Sep 14, 2015
- And as demand for drone pilots boom, drone-flying schools are becoming increasingly popular in China especially, reports China Daily. China’s Civil Aviation Administration estimates that by 2018, there will be a demand for more than 30,000 civilian drone pilots, according to Shanghaiist. So far, the country has 42 training centers and 700 licensed pilots—“a serious shortage.”
- A license requirement for flying drones was rolled out last year, when the Chinese government began to fear that the plethora of amateur drone operators was compromising public safety. CCTV News reported, for example, that local authorities had to free a mini drone that got stuck in a high-voltage power line in Shanghai. Now, regulations require drone operators to have a license to fly anything weighing more than 7 kilograms (15 pounds) above 12 meters (40 feet) and for more than 500 meters (1,640 feet) out of the pilot’s sight.
China unveils next-gen Wing Loong II UAV
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington, DC and Kelvin Wong, Singapore – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
17 September 2015
- Both in configuration and dimensionally the Wing Loong II compares well to the MQ-9 Reaper. Both are powered by a single pusher turboprop engine, place their satellite communication system and primary optical system in the nose, and employ large V-stabilisers with a smaller vertical stabiliser below the empennage.
- While almost identical in size, their performance differs – most likely due to their respective engines. While the MQ-9 has a maximum speed of 444 km/h and can reach a maximum altitude of 50,000 ft (15,240 m), the Wing Loong II has a maximum speed of 370 km/h and can reach an altitude of 30,000 ft (9,000 m).
- A brochure image shows the Wing Loong II carrying 12 air-to-surface missiles. These are probably the 26.5 kg Norinco Blue Arrow 9 ground-attack missiles revealed at the 2014 Airshow China at Zhuhai. Multiple Chinese companies have developed families of UAV weapons including precision-guided missiles, bombs, and air-to-air missiles.
At least 5 large-sized drones being developed by China
Staff Reporter 2015-07-23
- Based on Duowei’s research, China is currently developing the “Sharp Sword” combat UAV, the “Soar Dragon” high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV, the “Condor” drone series, the “Sky Wing 3” UAV and the “Long Eagle” HALE drone.
- The Sharp Sword is a variation of the AVIC 601-S series being jointly developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Shenyang Aerospace University and Hongdu Aviation Industry Group. The drone, which is powered by a Russian RD-93 turbofan engine has a wingspan of 14 meters, conducted a 20-minute maiden flight in southwestern China in November 2013.
- The Soar Dragon HALE UAV is designed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) and constructed by Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation. Featuring an unusual joined, tandem wingplan, the drone has surveillance, reconnaisance and intelligence collection capabilities. It was first unveiled in June 2011 and has been undergoing radar cross section and other electromagnetic tests in anticipation of flight testing, which some believe may have already taken place.
- The Condor, also known as the “Shendiao,” is a HALE anti-stealth drone which is said to have a higher performance level and better operational capabilities than America’s RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV. With a greater wingspan, the Condor can reportedly fly at a height of 25 km and a speed of Mach 0.8. Additionally, it has a takeoff load of 15-20 tons, meaning it can carry a radar that works at both X and UHF wavebands, offering both accurate fire control information and stealth detection.
- The Sky Wing III is part of a series of UAVs developed by CAIG and is regarded as a smaller version of the US General Atomics Avenger drone. CAIG recently revealed an upgraded version of the drone, which appears to have more powerful engines that have an estimated thrust of 1.6 tons to 2.0 tons. The dimensions of the UAV remain the same, with a length of 8.9 m, a wingspan of 19 m and a height of 3.5 m. The drone’s maximum takeoff weight is nine tons.
- The Long Eagle HALE drone is designed by the UAV Design and Research Institute of Beihang University. The program is said to have commenced in 2000, with a maiden flight conducted around 2004. However, the existence of the program was not officially confirmed by Chinese authorities until 2008. It is believed that the program completed around 2011 but very little information about the UAV have been revealed to the public due to alleged sensitivity surrounding its strategic capabilties.
Drone makers trying to build industry ecosystem in China
Staff Reporter 2015-07-23
- The success of Shenzhen-based drone maker DJI, which achieved a 70% global market share in 2006 and has recorded 100-fold growth over the past five years, has drawn market attention to the sector, the newspaper said. There are 300 to 500 companies in China involved in the drone business, including Beijing-based military mapping company Zero Tech and Chongqing-based motor manufacturer Zongshen Power, the newspaper said.
- Drone makers in China have also begun working with other sectors to expand the use of drones, the newspaper said. For instance, DJI and private equity fund Accel Partners set up the SkyFund to invest in entrepreneurs using DJI SDK to develop new applications, such as in mapping and agriculture. DJI has also worked with Intel and Fudan University in developing a smart city solution that can identify illegally parked vehicles, the newspaper added.
China Exclusive: Chinese drone maker spreads wings in Latin America
- From fighting forced labor to surveying Inca relics, Chinese unmanned aircraft are tapping an emerging market for consumer drones in Latin America. China’s top civilian drone maker, DJI, saw sales surge in the region based on demand from fun-seeking members of the public as well as firms and public services, Wang Fan, the company’s public relations director, told Xinhua.
- In another case, DJI drones have been used by cultural officials and archeologists in Peru to complete 3D surveying and mapping of over 12,000 Inca ruin sites.
- The firm’s best-sellers in Latin America are the Phantom series, ready to fly and priced between 6,000 and 8,000 yuan. There were also increasing orders for Inspire 1, sold at nearly 20,000 yuan in China.
Drones and powerful chips face China export limit
3 August 2015
- National security concerns have led China to restrict exports of high-performance drones and supercomputers. The new regulations cover drones that can stay airborne for longer than an hour, handle bad weather and reach altitudes of 1 mile (1.5km). They also limit the export of computer hardware supporting processing speeds of eight teraflops a second or more. The moves come soon after the US clamped down on the computer hardware that firms can sell to China.
DJI Releases New Phantom 3 Standard Drone
By Robin Burks, Tech Times | August 5
- For those consumers wanting to try out their hand with drone photography, but don’t want to spend a fortune on a high-end drone, DJI has the technology just for you: their new Phantom 3 Standard drone. Priced at $799, the Phantom 3 Standard drone doesn’t have a lot of the features consistent with DJI’s more expensive flying drones, but the company hopes to focus on those consumers who are just getting their feet wet with drone photography.
- DJI – Introducing the Phantom 3 Standard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIav0Qbw55g
- However, the Phantom 3 Standard is targeted at those people not yet willing to invest in the more expensive drones that DJI carries. For example, the Phantom 3 Professional, which costs $1,259, features 4K video with a whopping 60 frames per second. The Standard has a lower resolution and only shoots at 30 frames per second. And unlike the other Phantom 3 models, the Standard does not have sensors for indoor flight.
Divine Eagle: How much of a threat is China’s new high-flying drone to US air superiority?
Mark Piesing Thursday 06 August 2015
- To some analysts, the Chinese drone represents the death of stealth – for others, merely a serious threat to the future of the technology on which America has based its air superiority.
- When people think of stealth aircraft, they tend to picture the triangular black F-117 stealth fighter and B-2 bombers that penetrated Saddam Hussein’s much-vaunted air defences at the start of both Gulf wars – or perhaps the troubled Lockheed F-35 Lightning stealth fighter programme on which the UK has gambled the future of its aircraft carriers. However, the Horten Ho 229 flying wing developed by the Nazis during the Second World War was probably the first. While the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane used some basic stealth technology, the great leap forward in stealth really occurred in the 1970s with the Lockheed Have Blue project to develop a stealth fighter. This programme led directly to the F-117 and B-2.
- “The most visible piece of counter-stealth in the past couple of years has been the public display – by both Russia and China – of VHF-Aesa radars,” Sweetman says. Put simply, Aesa radars like those supposedly on the Divine Eagle drone are made up of a large number of solid state, chip-like modules that each emit an individual radio wave; these meet in front of the antenna to form a beam that can be easily aimed at a very specific target – and, combined with VHF, are an effective stealth-hunting tool.
China announces stricter controls on drone exports
Staff Reporter 2015-08-06
- China’s Ministry of Commerce and General Administration of Customs has jointly issued a notice about strengthening controls on partial exports of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) starting Aug. 15, triggering concerns over UAV producers led by DJI of Shenzhen, reports the Shanghai-based China Business News.
- Commercial drone exports have seen explosive growth. According to Shenzhen customs, in the first five months of the year, UAV makers in the city alone exported 160,000 models valued at 750 million yuan (US$120.7 million), a 55-fold increase year-on-year. Of the total, DJI alone accounted for more than 95% of sales.
- In the first half of 2015, more than 500 enterprises won approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to legally use UAVs, of which more than half are going with DJI products.
Satellite imagery reveals China’s new drone base
By AT Editor on July 2, 2015
- Satellite imagery of Hangzhou Bay shows that China has recently renovated a reserve airfield for dedicated drone operations in the East China Sea.
- Imagery suggests they’ve been operating from the airbase for at least two years—not surprising given the government called for the development of 11 new drone bases to be positioned along its 14,500 km coastline back in 2012. At the time, Colonel Li Jie, a researcher with Beijing’s Naval Research Institute, suggested they would be used to “track any foreign aerial vehicles within [China’s] maritime territory” — a comment probably aimed at U.S. drones.
China’s military drone debuts in earthquake area reconnaissance
- BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) — China’s air force on Friday morning sent a drone to check an area hit by an earthquake in Xinjiang, the first mission of this kind by the country’s military unmanned aerial vehicles.
- Shen Jinke, the spokesperson of the People’s Liberation Army air force, said the drone was sent to the area at 11:10 a.m. It sent back data in real time during the 100-minute flight.
China’s Civilian Drone Export Rises, Reaches 750M Yuan
EL Borromeo | Jul 07, 2015
- For the first five months of this year, China has already exported 160,000 units of civilian drones worth 750 million yuan. The statistic is 69 and 55 times higher than the January and May 2014 figures, respectively.
- “Many state-owned defense enterprises have dedicated considerable resources to developing drones, and a large number of private companies have also become involved,” China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.’s Unmanned Aircraft Research Institute director Ma Hongzhong stated. The firm, one of China’s defense giants which previously focused on missiles and multiple rocket launcher systems, began to allocate funds in developing drones.
- The technology has been beneficial in some businesses such as “agricultural pest control, environmental monitoring, geographic surveys, forest patrols, resource exploration and maritime operations.”
US predicts 42,000 unmanned Chinese military planes by 2023
July 08, 2015
- THE United States claims its arch superpower rival China is poised to become the world leader in unmanned military aircraft with up to 42,000 pilotless aircraft aloft by 2023. According to the United States Defense Department’s latest report on China’s military build-up the “Middle Kingdom” will spend more than $10 billion on land and sea based unmanned aircraft.
- Three of the systems being developed by China — the Yilong, Sky Saber and Lijian — are capable of launching precision strike missiles. According to a US Naval Intelligence report the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) — the PLA(N) — would most likely emerge as the most prolific user of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). “In addition to land based systems the PLA(N) is also pursuing ship-based UAVs as a supplement to manned helicopters,” the report says. “To date we have observed the PLA(N) operating the Austrian Camcopter S-100 rotary wing UAV from several surface combatants.”
- In 2013 China revealed that it was developing four new types of UAVs including the Yilong and Lijian which look very similar to US built aircraft such as the General Atomics Reaper and the Northrop Grumman X-47B carrier based Unmanned Air Combat Vehicle (UCAV). The Lijian, also known as “sharp sword”, is a stealthy flying wing design that first flew in November 2013 and is very similar to the X-47B that has been operated from a US aircraft carrier.
A Closer Look At China’s Divine Eagle Drone
The world’s biggest UAV
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer Posted July 10, 2015
- Since photos in May 2015 emerged of the Divine Eagle, China’s giant UAV has been getting a lots of international attention. With its giant, double bodied design, carrying high performance anti-stealth radars, the drones are a potential key part of China’s offensive and defensive military strategy in the coming years. Formations of Divine Eagle UAVs are expected to provide an early warning line to detect threats to China’s airspace, like cruise missiles and stealth bombers, as well as be able to take on such missions as hunting for aircraft carriers in the open waters of the Pacific.
- By using the single deck bus in the background (probably 3.2 meters tall, like most buses of its type) as a very crude visual yardstick, a very rough comparison suggests that the Divine Eagle is 6 meters tall, and 15 meters long (since most high altitude large UAVs have a wingspan to body length ratio of 2.5:1 to 3:1, the wingspan of the Divine Eagle is likely its be 35 to 45 meters across). The differing yellow, green and grey blue primer coatings on the Divine Eagle suggest the usage of different materials like composite and aluminum alloys for different sections of the UAV. For example, the grey blue forward dome on the port (left) body is likely to contain a satellite dish for long distance communications, suggesting that the material used in the grey blue sections are likely to be highly permeable to electromagnetic waves. The grey blue is also to be found on the starboard side of the right body (facing outside), and if the airframe composition is symmetrical, likely to be found on the portside of the left body (also facing out). Such electromagnetic permeables are likely to house the Divine Eagle’s long range anti-stealth radars (radomes are made of radar transparent materials), indicating that its radar arrays are 10 meters long, which suggests transmitting lower frequency (L and S Band) radar waves (most stealth aircraft are optimized to evade higher frequency, such as X band, radar). The green primer likely covers lightweight materials such as composite, while the yellow primer near the engine suggests some stronger metal alloy, probably to support the engine weight and height.
First maritime supervision drone ship developed in China
Staff Reporter 2015-07-15
- The city of Lianyungang in Jiangsu and China’s State Oceanic Administration have completed the development and sea trials of China’s first maritime supervision drone ship, according to Duowei News, a media outlet run by overseas Chinese. After the ship is commissioned, it will improve China’s ability to react to sudden incidents and increase the accuracy of its maritime observation, according to Duowei.
- In the two years of trials, Lianyungang has gathered a lot of information about the geographic features of its surrounding islands and marine territory and has integrated its remote sensing data technology into the ship’s design. The ship is expected to save Lianyungang 500,000-700,000 yuan (US$80,500-112,700) per year in maritime monitoring costs.
A4 paper-size foldable drone to reach market
(People’s Daily Online) 10:48, July 20, 2015
- China’s first consumer four-wing drone, which has variable structure as well as is easy to be folded and contained, TRANSDRONE A4 will soon be released in Beijing. Li Xiaoyu, CEO of AheadX said that the market of consumer drone in the next five years would reach $67.3 billion, and the competition in this circle would be very fierce.
Fledgling UAV sector helps Chinese companies take off
2015-06-16 14:49China Daily Editor: Si Huan
- As the market expands, investors are pouring into the unmanned aerial vehicles industry in China. “The application of UAV, or drones, is growing,” Xiong Gang, chairman of ASB Ventures (China) Holdings Ltd, said. “This covers aerial photography, entertainment, searching and real-time transportation and logistics.”
- Dajiang Innovations Technology Co Ltd, a UAV manufacturer based in Shenzhen, announced in May that it received $75 million of funding from the U.S. venture capital firm Accel Partners. Sequoia Capital, another venture capital company in the U.S., had earlier invested in DJI without revealing the exact amount. “DJI has the right sort of deep technology that we are interested in,” Neil Shen, the founder and managing partner of Sequoia Capital China, part of the Sequoia group, said. “That is why it has increased its market share globally.”
- Investment has also been plowed into Chinese companies such as Zero UAV (Beijing) Intelligence Technology Co Ltd, a drone manufacturer in Beijing. Zero Tech specializes in aerial photography and received a 50 million yuan ($8 million) from Shenzhen Rapoo Technology Co Ltd in February. Last September, Chengwei Capital, a Chinese venture capital firm, invested $20 million in XAIRCRAFT Technology Co Ltd, which is based in Guangzhou. XAIRCRAFT was one of the first domestic companies to develop multi-rotor drones.
- Another UAV manufacturer, Ehang Technology Co Ltd of Guangzhou, last year received angel funding from ZhenFund and LeBox Capital in Beijing. Then in December the venture capital company GGV Capital was part of a group that invested $10 million in Ehang. “Chinese high-tech startups have transformed from ‘Copy to China’ to ‘Create in China’ in recent years, and the trend is especially obvious in the intelligent hardware sector,” Shen said.
China’s Gansu deploys drones to curb drug growing
2015-06-16 14:50Xinhua Editor: Gu Liping
- Forestry department in northwest China’s Gansu Province said on Tuesday that a drone was used to monitor poppy cultivation in remote mountain areas. The 1.5-kg drone, with four propellers and a high-definition camera, can fly as high as 6,000 meters (about 20,000 feet) and monitor an area of 12 square kilometers.
- The drone can transfer photos and videos of suspect areas that are either too remote or dangerous for them to reach. With the help of an infrared device, the exact location and area can be determined.
Most popular and innovative Chinese drone companies
PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 June, 2015, 8:00am He Huifeng
- DJI’s great success has inspired many Chinese entrepreneurs and companies, and sparked the interest of the country’s venture capitalists, who are now investing readily in the consumer and small commercial drones market. SCMP staff reporters have sifted through this fiercely competitive industry to find some of the most promising companies. Their inclusion is based on the technology they offer, funding received and the combination of their flagship drones’ accessibility, affordability and performance.
- Founded in 2015, Zero Tech counts Rapoo Technology Company, one of the world’s biggest mouse and keyboard makers, as its primary backer, with a more than 50 million yuan investment. Zero’s Xplorer quadcopter series sells for 4,999 yuan, putting it in direct competition with DJI’s 6,000 yuan Phantom 2. According to the company, the Xplorer has all the functions of DJI’s Phantom 2 but with some added features such as a built-in Wi-Fi extender and powerful battery, and a better hovering and rotating capability.
- In December 2014, Ehang raised US$10 million Series A in a round led by GGV Capital that included two well-known Chinese angel investors – Xu Xiaoping and Nick Yang – and PreAngel Partners, the venture firm that also funded Alibaba Group. The company was rated one of the top 50 innovative Chinese companies in 2014 by Fast Company. The key selling point of Ehang’s Ghost range is ease of use, or what the company describes as the “world’s easiest drone to fly”, controlled using a mobile app on smartphones, the pilot uses GPS and maps to operate the drone.
- XAircraft was set up in 2007 in Guangzhou. In 2014, the company announced a US$20 million series A funding round led by Chengwei Capital. XAircraft manufactures several models of drones ranging from hobbyist quadcopters to professional aerial photography rigs. They also make the flight controllers, camera gimbals, and other accessories. Training, building, and repair services are also available.
DJI Phantom 3 Review: Stunning Video + Easier Controls = Hell Yes
Brent Rose 6/28/15 1:30pm
- Flying the DJI Phantom 3 drone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uj3Zr-Ssqw
- It’s DJI’s (that’s China’s Da-Jiang Innovations) latest consumer-facing aerial photography quadcopter, not to be confused with the more impressive (and more expensive) prosumer Inspire 1. It has the same tried and true body as the previous Phantom drones and it doesn’t go any faster than the last version. So what’s the difference? It’s way more accessible for beginners, and takes way better video. It’s got a wonderfully sharp, three-axis gimbal stabilized 4K UHD camera and vastly improved controls.
- Plus a new lower price, depending on the model. The Phantom 3 comes in two styles: the $1000 Advanced and the $1260 Professional. They’re very similar but the Professional shoots glorious 4K video at up to 30fps, while the Advanced is limited to 1080p video at 60fps. The Professional version is the one we tested and will be writing about here.
Meet China’s East China Sea Drones
Satellite imagery analysis confirms that Chinese BZK-005 drones are operating in the East China Sea.
By Ankit Panda June 30, 2015
- China has stationed at least three BZK-005 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on Daishan Island in Hangzhou Bay, an inlet of the East China Sea near Shanghai. The development confirms Chinese drone operations in the East China Sea, where it unilaterally declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in November 2014. Satellite imagery analysis by Chris Biggers over at Bellingcat shows the three medium altitude, long range drones sitting at the Daishan airfield, which Biggers describes as “one of the few dedicated facilities for drone operations known in China.” Chinese military UAVs were thought to have been operating in the East China Sea since at least late 2013.
- The Harbin BZK-005, described as China’s “Global Hawk,” does not carry any weapons and is intended primarily for intelligence-gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. It was developed in the mid-2000s by the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Harbin Aircraft Industry for use by the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN), and unveiled at the 2006 Zhuhai International Airshow. Recent reports in the Japanese press have suggested that China could ramp up its use of UAVs in the East China Sea to assert its maritime and territorial claims in the region.
China Unveils New Long-Range Drone
Twin-fuselage aircraft to enhance spying, strike capability
BY: Bill Gertz May 29, 2015 5:15 pm
- The Shen Diao, or Divine Eagle, remotely piloted aircraft is being developed by China’s Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and appears from Chinese Internet photos made public recently to be larger than the U.S Air Force’s Global Hawk long-range surveillance drone.
- “This particular UAV appears to advance targeting capabilities that China would use in an anti-access, area denial campaign,” Forbes said, using the term for unmanned aerial vehicle.
- The Shen Dao was first flown in February, according to Popular Science magazine, which reported the drone development on Thursday. The aircraft reportedly carries numerous Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, along with tracking sensors capable of following enemy fighter jets and cruise missiles.
Drone sales surge 167% to 4.3 million, U.S. leads but China catching up
By Paul Bedard 5/29/15 12:31 PM
- The worldwide market for consumer drones has taken off, and the United States is in the lead but Europe is nipping at America’s lead and China’s market is surging, according to a marketing giant. In 2015, world sales hit 4.3 million, worth about $1.7 billion. That is a 167 percent jump in sales in just two years.
Drones To Help Environmental Officials Monitor Big Polluters
By Michelle FlorCruz on June 01 2015 12:38 PM EDT
- According to financial news site Caixin, local officials in China’s northeast Heilongjiang province have begun using drones to monitor rural areas where straw burning, a common source of air pollution in the area, is popular. The effort has seen some success. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has used drones to fly over the nation’s steel mills, refineries and power plants to gather accurate emissions readings and determine violations. Last month, the ministry announced it had penalized several industrial companies thanks to information collected through drones.
DJI sets up Sky Fund to invest in drone applications
Staff Reporter 2015-06-02
- Sky Fund will target startups for drone applications and invest through means such as an exchange of securities or contributions to fundraising, either during the seedling stage or via private share placement.
- The investment recipients can also tap the resources of DJ-Innovations and Accel, including licensed applications for software development kits and an application program interface. These, as well as trial use of DJI’s new products and software, and Accel’s design tools and optimal programs related to developer education, community development and service channels are available on DJI’s development platform.
New PRC drone a threat to Taiwan, US analyst says
By William Lowther Wed, Jun 03, 2015
- China has developed a large new drone — known as the Shen Diao or Divine Eagle — which could threaten Taiwan.
- Fisher said the new drone could provide real-time targeting information to China’s “highly accurate” ballistic and cruise missiles.
Drone catches cheating students in ‘world’s toughest exam’
by Nick Summers June 3rd 2015 at 1:55pm
- If students want to cheat their way through one of China’s most difficult exams, they’ll now need to thwart a patrolling drone. The National Higher Education Entrance Exam, known as “gaokao,” is held each year and determines whether youngsters will get into the top universities. It’s been described as the “world’s toughest exam” and can be stressful, even traumatic for students trying to achieve higher grades. Some entrants, ingeniously, try to cheat by capturing their test questions and sending them to someone on the outside, before receiving the answers via an earpiece. Unsurprisingly, China wants to crack down on the practise, so one province is now using a drone to monitor radio activity. When a disturbance is detected, it can alert the invigilators and help determine the culprit’s location. The penalties for cheating are fierce, so authorities are hoping the threat alone will be enough to encourage would-be cheaters to spend their free time cramming instead.
DJI just released the first consumer drone that can see and avoid obstacles
The company’s new guidance system is already helping drones hand out parking tickets
By Ben Popper on June 8, 2015 09:45 am
- The drones available to the average consumer have improved by leaps and bounds over the last five years. Onboard computer systems allowed them to autonomously navigate a path of GPS waypoints or follow along with its owner and capture spectacular aerial footage. But up until now the drones available to you and me were blind to their surroundings. If a big tree or ski lift got in its path, the drone wouldn’t change course to avoid it. All that changes today, with the release of DJI’s first guidance system, a combination of ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras that allow the drone to detect objects up to 65 feet (20 meters) away and keep your aircraft at a preconfigured distance.
City of drones building a high-flying business
YU NAKAMURA, Nikkei staff writer June 11, 2015 1:00 pm JST
- As I watched, it dived and zoomed, then hovered above me. The movement was eerie and a bit menacing. Then I noticed several more drones buzzing around nearby. The drones with their ominous-looking black fuselages belonged to DJI, the Guangdong-based leading drone maker, which produces roughly 60% of world output of the flying machines. Engineers were test-flying their latest models as I was about to enter their office building. First-time visitors to Shenzhen may be jolted to see the machines buzzing around, but they are already part of everyday life for residents there.
- Cai Zhaoxiong, a 35-year-old engineer at Shenzhen Smartdrone UAV, another drone maker, which is located only a few dozen meters from the headquarters of DJI, said that he was 100% sure that his company would dominate the drone market in the future. According to him, the drone industry is still in its infancy. He dismissed the idea that DJI was the industry leader. Shenzhen Smartdrone is a startup founded last October by Edward Jin, 40, an entrepreneur and the founder and former owner of Art-Tech, a model aircraft company. Jin sold the company and established the drone maker with the proceeds.
Drone Maker DJI Partners With Streaming Site Youku-Tudou
2015-05-01 18:27:55 Xinhua Web Editor: Wang Wei
- China’s leading drone maker DJI has announced a partnership with streaming site Youku-Tudou in a new strategy to tap the country’s consumer drone market.
- According to the deal, the details of which were published on Thursday, Youku-Tudou will dedicate a special channel for DJI drone users, who will be able to upload videos shot by drone-mounted cameras. The creators of popular videos may share revenues with the website.
BREMMER: Here come the non-US drones
Jeremy Bender May 4, 2015, 3:08 PM
- According to Ian Bremmer, president of political-risk consultancy Eurasia Group, the technological gap that allowed the US to enjoy coercive diplomatic advantages over its rivals is rapidly shrinking. Drones are no exception.
- “China has moved the most quickly to develop significant drone capabilities and will start deploying them to support their national security capabilities,” Bremmer wrote in a recent note provided to Business Insider.
Bow To Your Billionaire Drone Overlord: Frank Wang’s Quest To Put DJI Robots Into The Sky
By Ryan Mac, Heng Shao and Frank Bi 5/06/2015
- Last year DJI sold about 400,000 units–many of which were its signature Phantom model–and is on track to do more than $1 billion in sales this year, up from $500 million in 2014. Sources close to the company say DJI netted about $120 million in profit. Sales have either tripled or quadrupled every year between 2009 to 2014, and investors are betting that Wang can maintain that dominant position for years to come. In May the company closed a $75 million round of funding from Accel Partners, which sources say valued the company at about $8 billion. DJI is also currently raising a new round of funding at a $10 billion valuation and Wang, who owns about 45%, will be worth about $4.5 billion. DJI’s chairman and two early employees are expected to be billionaires from the deal. “DJI started the hobby unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] market, and now everybody is trying to catch up,” says Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael Blades.
- By late 2012 DJI had put all the pieces together for a complete drone package: software, propellers, frame, gimbal and remote control. The company unveiled the Phantom in January 2013, the first ready-to-fly, preassembled quadcopter that could be up in the air within an hour of its unboxing and wouldn’t break apart with its first crash. Its simplicity and ease-of-use unlocked the market beyond obsessed enthusiasts.
- By May 2013, DJI attempted to buy out Guinn’s stake in DJI North America, offering DJI Global shares that would have given the American a paltry 0.3% stake, according to court documents. Guinn demurred, pointing out that it was his office’s work that led to 30% of Phantoms being sold in the U.S. DJI did not leave room for negotiation and by December had locked all of DJI North America’s employees out of their e-mails and redirected all customer payments to China headquarters. By New Year’s Eve the employees had been fired and arrangements were being made to liquidate the Austin office’s equipment. DJI ended that year with $130 million in revenue.
China Preparing for Drone Warfare
PLA plans to build 42,000 UAVs, Pentagon says
BY: Bill Gertz May 8, 2015 6:55 pm
- China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.
- Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.
- “China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.
China conducts successful test of drone with domestic engine
Staff Reporter 2015-05-10
- China has recently run its first successful test flight of its CH-3 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a locally made aircraft engine, reports the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of China’s armed forces.
- TD0, the aircraft engine for light drones, was developed by the internal Combustion Engine Research Institute of Tianjin University. According to the research team, the TD0 is a petrol engine designed for UAVs with 50 to 150 kWh of power. Additional equipment and technology would enable the engine for long-hour missions or flights at high altitudes.
Tianjin green innovation contest sees China’s first solar-powered drone
China’s first solar-powered drone with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities was unveiled at the recent annual Varsity Eco-Innovation Green Action competition in the Tianjin Eco-city.
By Jeremy Koh, Channel NewsAsia POSTED: 13 May 2015 00:08
- TIANJIN: China’s first solar-powered drone with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities was unveiled at the annual Varsity Eco-Innovation Green Action competition in the Tianjin Eco-city, where scores of undergraduates gathered to showcase their innovations.
- Besides the solar-powered drone, the competition also saw many other innovations being commercialised in this year’s edition. Among them was a device that monitors air quality indoors.
Drone maker DJI’s success inspires hundreds of Chinese start-ups to try and fly high
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 May, 2015, 7:02am He Huifeng
- “DJI inspires many Chinese with talent in technology. If it could grow from 50 employees to 1,500 in three years and from three million to 3 billion yuan (sales), then maybe so can we,” said Ma, a 22-year old graduate student, referring to rapid business expansion and sales growth of DJI in recent years.
- They have a way to go. DJI now has a 70 per cent share of the global civilian drone market and is also one of the world’s most valuable start-ups, with some estimates putting it at a valuation of as high as US$10 billion.
Chinese Drone Delivery Service launched
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
- Chinese logistics company S.F. Express has begun using small drones to deliver packages to remote and mountainous areas in south China, reports the IT Times.
- S.F. Express has teamed up with domestic drone maker Xaircraft in testing delivery drones since 2013. Details of the drones used by S.F. Express are not available at the moment. But according to the website of Xaircraft, its delivery drones can carry loads up to 10 kilograms (353 oz), with a maximum range of 20 kilometers (12 miles).
Drones Playing a Bigger Role in China’s Environmental Protection Efforts: Report
Alvin Ybanez | Apr 06, 2015 08:19 AM EDT
- Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are becoming an increasingly critical component in China’s campaign against pollution, state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.
- During the latest air pollution inspections in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province, law enforcement officials of the Ministry of Environmental Protection deployed drones to check on key areas, Xinhua said in its report.
Makers of drones eye growth in civilian use
2015-04-14 08:47China Daily Editor: Wang Fan
- “Several years ago, we were only a research studio,” said Ma Hongzhong, director of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp’s Unmanned Aircraft Research Institute. “But the company recently expanded it into an institute in order to use the company’s cruise missile experience and expertise in drone research.”
- “Many State-owned defense enterprises have dedicated considerable resources to developing drones, and a large number of private companies have also become involved.
A $10 billion Chinese drone company could soon be here
by Daniel Roberts April 15, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT
- DJI, as it is known, is reportedly in talks to raise a round of funding that would value the company at $10 billion.
China’s DJI drones flying high among U.S. companies
Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:18pm EDT | By David Morgan
- Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd has established a strong early lead in the U.S. commercial market as companies turn to its inexpensive, light-weight flying devices for a host of uses from shooting films to mapping and site inspections.
- Sixty-one of the 129 companies that received regulatory approval to use unmanned aircraft are using DJI drones, or 47 percent, far ahead of its nearest rival, a Reuters review of federal records as of April 9 shows. Nearly 400 other companies, more than half of the 695 businesses still awaiting approval, have applied to use DJI drones.
China Drones Rule U.S. Commercial Airspace
John Lucero | Apr 20, 2015 07:17 AM EDT
- Chinese drone developer SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd. leads the U.S. commercial market, as American firms favor the drone maker’s lightweight and affordable flying drones for several uses from filmmaking to mapping to aerial site inspections.
- Experts state that DJI drones would likely drive the U.S. commercial market in the near future, as the powerful machine continuously meets ever-rising demand for uses such as real estates’ aerial photography and film production.
China’s military drone has new radar with resolution of 10 cm at 8000 metre height
Posted by chankaiyee2 ⋅ April 21, 2015
- The report reveals that the No. 2 Research Institute of China’s Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. (CASIC) has developed the SAR radar technology.
- This has a resolution rate of 0.1 metre at a height of 8,000 meters, capable of discerning a football on the ground from that height. It can be used for both military and civil purposes.
- The radar can be installed on drones that fly as high as 8,000 metres.
China is really interested in the military drone business
Reuters Megha Rajagopalan, Reuters Apr. 30, 2015, 12:39 AM
- BEIJING (Reuters) – China is stepping up research into military drones as its arms industry looks to increase export volumes, hoping to gain traction with cheaper technology and a willingness to sell to countries Western states are reluctant to.
- “Research and development on drones in our country has now entered a phase of high-speed progress,” said Xu Guangyu, a retired major general in the People’s Liberation Army.
- China’s biggest drone maker, Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic), is predicted by Forecast to become the world’s largest maker of military drones by 2023.
Xiaomi rumoured to be working on drones
Francis D’Sa | February 03, 2015, 13.02 pm IST
- Xiaomi, the Chinese tech giant, famous for its smartphones, tablets a lot more tech gadgets under its belt, is now rumoured to be working on a drone. Chinese website MyDrivers reported that Xiaomi is presently working on creating drones to add up to its product line and is rumoured to name it as FlyMi.
- GizmoChina reported that the Chinese tech giant is investing in a new venture called Xiaomi Drones. The company will not be a subsidiary of Xiaomi, but will receive profits from the first product that FlyMi will launch in the market. However, it is also said that Xiaomi will only get a stock in the company.
Alibaba to test drone delivery in three cities
by Scott Cendrowski February 4, 2015, 5:52 AM EDT
- The Chinese e-commerce giant said it would test drone delivery in three Chinese cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, starting Wednesday. The test run, which enables 450 customers to receive one package of ginger tea via its Taobao.com platform, is in partnership with courier Shanghai YTO Express, which has long offered same-day delivery but never drone drop-offs.
DJI Unleashes ‘Phantom 3’ Drones
The leader in aerial imaging unveils the new Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced quadcopters.
By Jim Fisher April 8, 2015 02:58pm EST
- The Professional records footage in 4K resolution at 24p, 25p, or 30p, while the Advanced is limited to 1080p, but can shoot at up to 60fps. Both models feature a prime f/2.8 lens with a 940-degree field of view and the ability to capture still images in either JPG or Raw DNG format. That’s about equal to a 20mm lens on a full-frame camera, and it’s the same field of view used by DJI’s expensive Inspire 1 4K drone. The Phantom 2 had a much wider lens, one that covered a 140-degree field of view, which gave images and video distinct fish-eye distortion. That’s not the case with the Phantom 3.
- A 3-axis gimbal keeps aerial footage smooth and steady. A new remote control allows you to guide the camera through the air and control the camera’s tilt. The DJI Pilot app also shows a live feed from the camera, tracks the drone’s flight path, and includes video-editing tools and the ability to upload video clips to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. It also has a flight simulator mode that can be used by new pilots to hone their quadcopter skills. Live streaming is also available with an optional accessory.
The Five Most Deadly Drone Powers in the World
Robert Farley February 16, 2015
- The People’s Republic of China, perhaps recognizing how lucrative the emerging international market might prove, has begun to invest heavily in drone production. China has (so to speak) allowed a hundred flowers to bloom with respect to UAV production and development, with both the big state-owned defense enterprises and a host of smaller, private suppliers trying to enter the market. This has resulted in a bewildering array of options for the Chinese government, with drones that have the potential to fill a lot of different niches in the PLA’s military framework, including counter-terror operations.
- The Chinese have also begun to work out the implications of drones for their A2/AD system, as well as for ongoing efforts at “salami slicing” in the East and South China Seas. With respect to the former, drones in the ISR role can provide the critical data input that China’s systems of anti-access systems needs to function. On salami slicing, drones offer a degree of escalatory uncertainty that suits a “relaxed” aggressor interested in probing the defenses and resolve of a coalition of opponents. Using drones gives China access to airspace over contested areas, without conveying the same threat that manned aircraft would offer.
China’s solar powered UAV soars high into the sky
2015-03-12 13:57 Ecns.cn Web Editor:Yao Lan
- An undated photo shows a solar powered UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), designed by China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, flies during a test. The UAV, with a wingspan of more than 40 meters, is a long-endurance, high-altitude aircraft system that has a broad application prospect. The solar powered aircraft Solar Impulse II landed in western India on Tuesday night, completing the second leg of its historic round-the-world trip. The Solar Impulse II also plans to make stops in China. (Photo/people.cn)
China increases use of UAVs to detect air polluters
2015-03-31 15:19Ecns.cn Editor: Mo Hong’e
- (ECNS) — Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may be a solution to China’s long-time problem in fighting air pollution by businesses stealthily discharging illegal emissions.
- Since November 2013, environmental protection authorities have been using UAVs to monitor pollutant discharge and the operation of desulfurization facilities related to the steel, coking and power industries, according to the report.
- Cities such as Tianjin, Guilin and Shenzhen are offering supportive policies to encourage the development of remote UAV sensors as a strategic emerging industry.
China Shows Off Holographic Ground Control System for Drones
Drone Sold Separately By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer Posted November 25, 2014
- AVIC, China’s top aerospace manufacturer, is finding unexpected but sci-fi inspired ways to push the drone technological envelope. The Holographic Ground Control System (GCS) displays a holographic image of the drone, making it easier for the controller to intitutively understand UAV operations, by fusing together flight parameters, payload monitoring, weapons release and sensor data. The pilot is seated at the cockpit, while other personnel can observe the UAV and its environment on the hologram.
- Immersive human-machine interfaces have been a staple of science fiction ranging from Star Trek and Star Wars to Robocop. While virtual reality (VR) headsets allow for individual and networked immersive experiences for air flight, the GCS’s advantage lies in providing a holographic picture that multiple mission personnel, along with the UAV pilot, can view. This enhancement of unit situational awareness would provide a better picture of UAV operations and capabilities to liasion personnel in a joint mission like amphibious or special force assaults.
This Indiegogo-funded drone startup just raised $10M from VCs before its campaign has even ended
Kia Kokalitcheva December 30, 2014 4:30 AM
- Ehang, the company behind Ghost, is announcing it has raised $10 million in new funding to expand its teams in China and Silicon Valley and to help it manufacture more units.
- The Ghost drone is a consumer-grade, unmanned aerial vehicle that is controlled through its companion smartphone app and can be equipped with a GoPro camera for recreational video-recording (the camera and gimbal are sold as add-ons). At the moment, the video footage is stored by GoPro, locally and through its cloud-based storage, although Ehang plans on eventually making more options available for accessing the footage. The company is more focused on the aircraft’s technology than on video and camera technology, which is why it’s working with GoPro.
Wing Loong drone conducts successful formation test flight
Staff Reporter 2015-01-06
- The new year has seen the first formation test flight of China’s new domestically developed military drone — the Chengdu Pterodactyl or the Wing Loong, the website of the People’s Daily reported on Jan. 5.
- The body of the drone measures 9 meters, while its wingspan is 14 m, which allows it to glide for extended periods of time. The formation test flight will be a big test for the drone’s control system, as formation flight requires an extremely high level of accuracy to prevent mid-air collisions. The test flight suggests problems with the drone’s long-distance remote control system have already been resolved.
- The drone can be controlled in two different ways: the first method makes use of wireless communication, which gives it a combat radius of around 200 km; the drone can also be controlled by a pilot on the ground directing the drone via satellite, which extends its combat radius to 2,000 km.
Chinese upstart takes lead in fast-growing drone market
By JOE McDONALD AP Business Writer10:28 p.m.Jan. 6, 2015
- SHENZHEN, China (AP) — An amateur photographer in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, drew crowds when he used a drone mini-helicopter made by China’s DJI Technology Co. to capture images of historic church steeples and other sights.
- From the start, DJI was “very polished, had just the right capabilities and the right price point” — less than $1,000 when most rivals cost at least $5,000, Saenko said. “They hit the sweet spot.”
Chengdu modifies Tian Yi UAV with smaller, twin engines
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington, DC – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly 11 January 2015
- First seen in model form at Airshow China 2006 at Zhuhai, the Tian Yi emerged in mid-2008 at the CAC airfield as a medium-sized single turbofan-powered UAV with V-shaped vertical stabilisers.
- The new modified version is about the same size as the original Tian Yi, but has a redesigned fuselage. The most prominent difference is a wider empennage that incorporates two smaller turbofan engines plus a wider air intake. These modifications are most likely intended to suppress the UAV’s infrared signature, which would stand out against in high cruise altitudes.
China Shows Off Cannon-Fired Drones
They can pick out enemy tanks for quick destruction by laser guided artillery
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer Posted January 27, 2015
- Chengdu Aviation Corporation is famous for designing some of China’s largest UAVs, but now they’re offering something far smaller, but just as deadly. This little drone can be fired from large artillery, such as a 155mm cannon or a rocket launcher, to quickly scout for and light up enemy armored vehicles with its laser designator. Once enemy vehicles have been targeted, the parent artillery battery can fire off laser guided shells and artillery to accurately destroy the enemy.
- The artillery launched drone can be quickly launched to find and paint enemy vehicles with a laser. Chinese laser guided munitions, similar to the Russian Krasnopol or U.S. Copperhead, can directly hit the relatively unarmored rooftops of tanks and other armored vehicles from over 30km away.
- This small artillery-launched drone offers advantages over small traditional UAVs and larger reconnaissance UAVs. Artillery launch provides the drone with speed and mobility advantages over small hand launched UAVs like the Raven. Its small size also makes it cheaper and harder to detect, compared to a larger UAV like the ScanEagle. This drone represents not only the growing innovation in Chinese unmanned system, but also advancements in Chinese defense networking and battlefield situational awareness.
Environmental Agency in China using drones to catch polluters
January 30, 2015 – Updated 170 PKT
- However in China, the environmental watchdog in the city of Foshan has started using a drone camera to inspect a plant – suspected of polluting the environment – that was unwilling to cooperate.
- Environmental Inspectors feel the use of drones will make it easier to inspect and catch illegal activities at plants.
Chinese Drone Maker DJI Tackles Security Fears Amid Booming Market
By Ian Williams First published February 2 2015, 4:30 AM
- “We put the GPS locations of sensitive locations like airports — and now D.C. — into the flight controllers so that the platforms will sense when it is close to one of these no-fly zones and won’t enter the space,” DJI’s spokesman Michael Perry told NBC News during a visit to the company’s headquarters. “We are working with the regulators, finding out where we can’t fly, and simply closing that off with software,” Pan added.
- DJI now employs 2,800 people worldwide. It is a private company that releases little detailed commercial information, though by one estimate they have 70 percent of the global market and are now selling “tens of thousands a month,” with the U.S. its most important market.
China to be UAV market leader in 10 years: Russian report
Staff Reporter 2014-10-23
- China will become the world’s largest manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles within the next decade, according to a report from Russia’s Military-Industrial Courier.
- China has made major strides in UAV research and development over the last 10 years. While the domestic aviation industry is still imitating western products it has also begun developing it’s own unique drones, the report also said.
- The China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province has been exhibiting around two dozen new Chinese UAV models annually in recent years, with notable examples being the WZ-200 compact UAV in 2000 and the AN-229A large UAV in 2008.
Drones used in PLA air defense unit drill
Staff Reporter 2014-11-02
- During an exercise in central China’s Hubei province, unmanned aerial vehicles played the role of hostile forces — the “blue team” — against the Chinese reserve anti-artillery division, according to the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of China’s armed forces.
Who Builds the World’s Most Popular Drones?
By Jack Nicas and Colum Murphy Nov. 10, 2014 1:54 p.m. ET
- In just a few years, SZ DJI Technology Co. has become the world’s biggest consumer drone maker by revenue, selling thousands of its 2.8-pound, square-foot devices for about $1,000 each. In the process, it also has become the first Chinese brand to pioneer a major new global consumer-product category.
- Mr. Wang’s creation is a new breed of Chinese company. China became an economic juggernaut by in large part manufacturing cheap goods for companies from other countries. In recent years, a handful of Chinese firms, including Huawei Technologies Co., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Lenovo Group Ltd. , have evolved from imitators to global leaders in their sectors.
- Mr. Wang founded DJI in 2006 in his dorm room at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he was a graduate engineering student. A slender man with glasses and a slight goatee, Mr. Wang said his dream to popularize drones began after he crashed his first model helicopter as a child in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. “It was impossible for ordinary people to fly that machine,” he said. He skipped classes and sleep—at one point he was so obsessed he forgot to pay his tuition—to develop a stabilization system that made drones easier to fly, and therefore accessible to a much larger audience.
China’s CASIC Reveals New Stealthy WJ-500 UAV
Nov. 12, 2014 – 11:42AM | By WENDELL MINNICK
- The angular, stealthy design of the multipurpose, subsonic WJ-500 — on display this week at Airshow China — gives it a low radar signature allowing for “great defense penetration” and provides for a variety of missions, including simulating the characteristics of cruise missiles and aircraft, according to the company.
SK-1, WJ-600 UAVs on display at Zhuhai Air Show
Staff Reporter 2014-11-14
- Among all the drones displayed at the show, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation’s Skyhawk, also known as the SK-1, and the WJ-600 garnered the most attention from aviation experts. The SK-1 is an unmanned aerial scout which plays a very similar role to the OH-58 Kiowa helicopter of the United States Army. With its small size and stealth capability, it is extremely difficult for the enemy forces to locate the SK-1 above the battlefield.
- The WJ-600 is one of China’s most advanced unmanned combat aerial vehicles. With the capability to reach as high as 10,000 feet, the WJ-600 serves the People’s Liberation Army in a similar role to a satellite but at a lower altitude. It can fly 200 meters every second and launch attacks against ground targets. The drone is also capable of conducting electronic warfare and transferring critical information back to the command center.
The DJI Inspire 1 is a $2,900 drone with a 4K camera
by Sean Buckley November 12th 2014
- Truth be told, that would be a pretty expensive upgrade from the Phantom 2 Vision, but DJI packs a lot into the Inspire 1’s sleek white chassis. The Inspire One rocks a three-axis gimbal mounted camera capable of shooting 12 megapixel images and 4K video at 30, 25 and 24fps. The default camera ships with a 94-degree field of view, but if you don’t like it, you can change it. “It’s actually a modular camera that you can pop on and pop off,” DJI’s Michael Perry told us. “It will eventually support different payloads, but for now we just have the one 4K camera.” That’s not the only imaging device on the rig, either: the Inspire 1 also uses a stereoscopic “optic flow” camera to help stabilize the drone. “It stabilizes itself without GPS,” Perry explains “That’s important because a lot of people will take off without getting a full GPS lock.”
China’s made a drone that Amazon would love to use for deliveries
by Richard Lai | @richardlai | August 11th 2014
- Watch out, DJI! There’s a new kid on the block! At the TechCrunch Beijing conference today, fellow Chinese drone maker Ehang teased its upcoming hexacopter ahead of its Kickstarter launch next month. While the company’s keeping most of the specs under wraps, the reps did reveal that this yet-to-be-named machine is very light thanks to its full carbon fiber body, and it’ll manage a whopping 5km radius range with a flight time of around 30 to 40 minutes per charge. Best of all, this drone will apparently have a maximum load weight of 10kg. That’s four times as much as what Amazon’s delivery drone can handle, and twice that of DJI’s recently launched Spreading Wings S900; but its estimated $5,000 price tag isn’t as attractive.
Next-generation Rainbow drone ready for PLA delivery
Rainbow 4 unmanned aerial vehicle ready for use by military after successful missile test
Stephen Chen PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2014
- The Rainbow 4 was developed as the PLA’s answer to the MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer drone mainly used by the US military for reconnaissance and high-precision air strikes, according to mainland media reports.
- The Rainbow drone is about nine metres long and has an 18-metre wingspan. It can fly for about 40 hours. The drone can carry up to four missiles and its ground control and support centre can be packed into and moved around in two trucks.
Chinese drone maker joins quadcopter craze with new $20M investment
Paul Bischoff 12:08 pm on Sep 2, 2014
- XAircraft makes several models of drones ranging from hobbyist quadcopters to professional aerial photography rigs. They also make the flight controllers, camera gimbals, and other accessories. Training, building, and repair services are also available.
Rosy outlook for UAV courier services in China
Staff Reporter 2014-09-06
- Developed by Guangzhou’s XAircraft, the UAVs can carry four kilograms of goods and can fly uninterrupted for about 45 minutes, said Xaircraft co-founder Justin Gong. As the test runs have gone smoothly, a total of 5,000 Xaircraft-made UAVs will be used for courier services by the end of this year, according to Gong’s estimates.
China’s Fast-Growing Answer to FedEx Is Researching Drone Deliveries
By Bloomberg News June 09, 2014
- It’s a Chinese company called SF Express. Look for its gray uniforms and black vans if you’re in Hong Kong or any major Chinese city. SF has 250,000 staff members and owns 15 airplanes, including a Boeing 737-300. And then there’s its drone: Powered by eight propellers, it was spotted last year flying 100 meters above ground in Shenzhen, SF’s headquarters city, carrying packages that bore the company’s letters.
Biggest buyer of military drones in 2020 may be China
Staff Reporter 2014-06-25
- According to a Business Insider report published on June 22, the market for military drones will reach US$8.2 trillion by 2022, yet the biggest buyer will no longer be the US, but rather China and Russia.
Chinese remote sensing drone sets 30-hour flying record
08:25, July 10, 2014
- BEIJING, July 9 — A new Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) set a new record for the country’s remote sensing drones by flying for more than 30 hours consecutively, the UAV’s developer, the Chinese Academy of Surveying & Mapping (CASM), announced on Wednesday.
China Develops Mature, Broad-Based UAV Sector
Posted on 14/07/2014
- China “has gone out of its way to reach beyond conventional aircraft companies to encourage cruise missile makers, universities and model aircraft concerns to actively develop unmanned aircraft,” said Richard Fisher, senior fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center.
- Michelson said the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics organize the UAV Grand Prix. It was in 2011 that the event demonstrated a “stopped-rotor” vehicle by Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China. Earlier efforts to create such a vehicle in the US failed. During the 1980s, both the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and NASA funded the Sikorsky X-Wing project, which involved a rigid helicopter rotor that could be stopped in flight to act as a wing, Michelson said. The next one to take up the challenge was Boeing Phantom Works and DARPA in 2003 under a joint program. “Boeing attempted to demonstrate stopped-rotor technology with its canard rotor/wing X-50A Dragonfly UAV,” he said. After several years of testing, both demonstrators had crashed.
- However, in 2011, Michelson saw the impossible in China. The Northwestern Polytechnical University stopped-rotor UAV “performed flawlessly, transitioning from hover to high-speed forward flight and back again on several occasions.” Michelson said “in light of the millions spent by DARPA to develop a workable stopped-rotor design without ever demonstrating conversion, I found the fully functional … stopped-rotor UAV to be one of the most significant technology demonstrations at the AVIC UAV Grand Prix.”
- On Michelson’s second trip to China in 2013, he was further shocked to find a Chinese university had solved the complexities of using high voltage to affect the flow over an airfoil on a UAV wing, something never attempted on a UAV before. Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics dubbed the creation their “PlasMav,” he said. For the first time in known UAV history, a high-voltage field was used to reduce drag and increase lift.
- “Basically, the creation of a high-voltage field at the surface of an airfoil can charge the air passing over it in such a way that it can ‘attach’ the airfoil so that shed vortices can be controlled to affect the lift-to-drag ratio of the airfoil,” Michelson said. “The effect is similar to that of circulation control airfoils, but without the need to inject gas into the flow to entrain the air moving over a wing.”
Commercial drone market set to take off in China: report
Staff Reporter 2014-08-12
- Commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is an emerging line of business in China, set to be worth billions of yuan within a few years as more companies show interest in entering the market, with a Shenzhen-based UAV company having posted explosive growth since its establishment in 2006, Guangzhou’s 21st Century Business Review reports.
- DJI is the global leader in UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) designed specifically for photo and video applications. Swedish video website Travelbydrone said that 75% of its videos are made using drones from DJI.
Stealth drone completes successful maiden flight
Minnie Chan PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 4:29am
- China yesterday staged the successful maiden test of its first jet-powered stealth drone, making the fourth country to implement the technology after the Britain, France and the United States.
- The Lijian is designed for use by the PLA Air Force and Navy Air Force for combat, tracking and reconnaissance, said Xu Guangyu , a former PLA major general who is now a senior researcher at the Beijing-based China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.
China deploys drones to spy on polluting industries
Drones to scout over skies of Beijing and other cities to check for smog sources and spot environmental breaches
Jennifer Duggan theguardian.com, Wednesday 19 March 2014 12.20 GMT
- The deputy minister of environmental protection, Zhai Qing said drones have recently been used in Beijing, Shanxi and Hebei provinces to inspect for pollution. These are some of the worst affected areas of China, with a high number of coal-fired power stations, steel mills and cement plants.
- While the drones are mainly used to gather evidence about environmental breaches they are also employed to evaluate the performance of local governments in enforcing environmental protection.
China to test cutting-edge anti-smog drone
Published time: March 06, 2014 15:20
- Government agencies in China are set to test a new aerial drone to tackle their overwhelming air pollution. The device is set to spray chemicals that freeze pollutants and make them fall to the ground.
- 700 kilograms of smog-clearing chemicals is the amount of anti-pollution substances the drone can carry, according to the chief executive of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ma Yongsheng.
Smog drone test success
Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-10 1:23:01
- The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a gliding parachute, manufactured by a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, was tested successfully at Shashi airport in Hubei Province.
- “Even in thick fog the UAV could fly on an accurate route,” said engineer Guo Haijun, who added the new plane has flexible wings with an aerodynamic structure, and innovative autonomous navigation control and launch technology.
China to Lead World in Drone Production
A state-owned Chinese defense company will comprise over half the UAV market during the next decade.
By Zachary Keck May 02, 2014
- The report forecasts that the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a state-owned Chinese defense company, will lead the world in UAV production. According to Forecast International, AVIC will produce about $5.76 billion worth of UAVs through 2023. This is more than half of the UAVs by value that will be produced during this time period. Nearly all these will be sold to Chinese consumers.
- AVIC and its subsidiaries already produce a number of UAVs for the Chinese market. As Avionics Intelligence explains, “AVIC manufacturers a wide range of UAVs, including its electrically powered micro air vehicle (MAV), the jet-powered LIEOE, which appears almost identical to the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, for reconnaissance, surveillance, and attack missions, the AVIC Sky Eye, an electrically unmanned helicopter designed to be deployed by artillery or rocket round, for reconnaissance and targeting, and the TL-8 Sky Dragon for simulating cruise missiles for Chinese military.”
Saudi Arabia signs deal for China’s Pterodactyl drone
Staff Reporter 2014-05-06
- Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement to purchase China’s Wing Loong medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise known as the Pterodactyl I, reports Huanqiu, the website of China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times.
Russia may look to China to acquire drone technology
Staff Reporter 2014-06-03
- Vasily Kashin, an analyst at the Moscow-based Center for Analysis for Strategies and Technologies, has said Russia may consider making use of more advanced Chinese military resources, according to ArmyStar, a China-based news website specializing in global military.
Report: Chinese Drone ‘Swarms’ Designed to Attack American Aircraft Carriers
The Chinese are taking unmanned aerial vehicle development very seriously, according to a new report
By Jason Koebler March 14, 2013
- “Chinese UAV technology is a woefully understudied topic,” he says, adding that there’s reason to believe that China has either already surpassed U.S. prowess in unmanned air technology or will soon do so. “They’re certainly far more advanced than I expected them to be. You get the impression they’re doing very advanced, cutting-edge research.”
- Like in many other industries, Easton says “there’s no question” China likely caught up to the U.S. with a cyber warfare campaign to steal technological secrets —the country has UAVs “that look exactly like our Predator or the Global Hawk.”
- “We generally don’t worry about the Chinese building a better submarine, fighter plane, or aircraft carrier than us, but with UAVs, I think it might be a little different,” he says. “They have organized their UAV programs in such a way where they could be very innovative in terms of weapon systems.”
Red dawn: Communist China stepping up drone deployment
By Bill Gertz – Washington Free Beacon Tuesday, March 26, 2013
- China is also building an unamanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) aka. unpiloted jet
- originally US planned to outrange China’s DF-21D now this UCAV could undermine that
- Project 2049 Institute released a report on March 11 on Chinese drones, says it developed one of the largest and most organizationally complex UAV programs in the world
China’s rise as a force in drone warfare could affect regional power balance, arms exports
By Associated Press 2013/05/03
- drones are already patrolling Chinese borders and a navy drone was used for reconnaissance during the latest earthquake
- China almost used drones to kill a druglord in South East Asia, but didnt because they wanted him alive (he was later caught, taken to China and executed)
First Chinese stealth drone ‘ready’ for test flight
Published time: 11 May, 2013 09:11
- China’s first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), known as the Lijian (‘sharp sword’), is designed jointly by the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group and Shenyang Aviation Corporation. The project was launched in 2009 and the drone’s first ground test was conducted on December 13 last year.
- The Lijian, which makes China the third country to possess stealth drone capabilities, is now ready for flight testing, China Aviation News reported on Friday.
China grounds world’s first CAKE DRONES over fears they might fall on someone’s head as novelty delivery service goes from sweet to sour
By Anthony Bond PUBLISHED: 19:19 GMT, 27 July 2013 | UPDATED: 06:13 GMT, 29 July 2013
- Shanghai’s Incake bakery recently purchased three mini-drones
- It used remote controlled drones to deliver baked goods to customers
Soon, ‘robotic drones’ to deliver parcels in China
Press Trust of India | Updated: September 04, 2013 18:43 IST
- Beijing: Chinese citizens may soon receive their delivery parcels via drones. A leading Chinese delivery company is developing air drones that could bring packages across long distances and reach remote areas.