China / Society

China hungry for drones for civil use

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-11 17:37

BEIJING - Drones for civil use are proving increasingly popular in China, but a dearth of innovation is hindering domestic producers, experts said at an international drones exhibition that concluded on Friday.

Although the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry is just a few years into its development, UAVs are now extensively applied in China for civil purposes, according to Li Yong, vice president of Wuhan Ewatt Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd, which specializes in making drones.

China hungry for drones for civil use

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"UAVs are increasingly used in a variety of fields, including electric power industries, disaster-relief work, as well as shooting TV programs," Li said at the fifth UAV China Conference & Exhibition in Beijing.

In the latest example, remote sensing drones, known for their safety and high efficiency, were employed to help with rescue efforts following a mudslide in southwest China's Yunnan Province that left 17 people missing on Wednesday.

The domestic drone industry lacks the talent and technology needed to innovate, and instead tends to imitate other countries, said Xu Huaying, a retired official from the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

According to Xu, a UAV market must be fostered in which small private firms compete with those with state backing, with the competition hopefully driving up standards.

The government should support the industry by issuing more preferential policies, encouraging the cultivation of skilled personnel and enhancing international exchanges, he said. "Only in this way can we truly bring the industry to the next level."

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