Growing Demand in Drones Ushers In Stiff Competition, Safety Issues

Drones have come a long way from their military connection, and by the looks of it, are here to stay. Rapt interest continues to be given to these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – mainly by avid fans, makers and users that include commercial/private businesses that see huge economic prospects. Interest has all the more grown for uav aerial photography services.

As it is, drones are growing very much in demand ushering in stiff competition among drone makers.

In China the government is already using drones too, deploying them to detect illegal emissions from factories and track terrorist suspects in the far west of the country. In March, the authorities also tested larger drones that spray chemicals to disperse smog, for example. Usage by the private sector is less developed, although drone proponents say the e-commerce boom in China makes aerial delivery look promising. Logistic giant SF Express trialled delivery drops with eight-rotor helicopters in Guangdong last year. There is optimism too that restrictions on drone exports by American manufacturers may have given Chinese firms a sales advantage. “The gap between these companies and their Western counterparts is not that big,” says Zhang Feng, secretary-general of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, of the manufacturers. “China’s drone industry is quite competitive, especially in areas such as avionics and flight control.”Read more here:

As Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Technology Co. gobbles up global market share feasting on soaring demand for sky-high footage of exploding volcanoes, big wave surfers and the like — rival company XAircraft must eat humble pie and wait patiently for the next boom. Peng Bin, the 32-year-old chief executive of XAircraft, said he sometimes kicks himself that he didn’t spot what DJI’s Frank Wang did—combining drones with photography. “XAircraft didn’t pay too much attention to the aerial photography market, because we thought it was too complicated,” Mr. Peng said in an interview last week at the company’s compact headquarters in Guangzhou, southern China. XAircraft may have missed the taking the lion’s share of the flying camera market but Mr. Peng sees other, even greater opportunities such as the use of drones for package delivery. Read more here:

However, attention has also come from regulating government agencies and the general public still wary about drones due to safety issues. In the US, commercial drones are still largely banned by the FAA, and illegal use of private drones near parks or airports likewise come under the FAA’s radar.

There is another kind of concern as well. Chinese companies have boasted about muscling into the international drone market, and they appear to be making headway. In May, it was revealed that Saudi Arabia purchased an unknown number of Chinese-made Wing Loong drones, a rough equivalent to the US-made Predator. This followed earlier reports of Chinese collaboration with the Algerian military, and suspicion that Uzbekistan, the UAE and Pakistan are operating Chinese drones. And in an August joint military exercise, China conducted a live-fire demonstration of drone strikes for its partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. All this comes at a time when American experts are worried about their diminishing lead in unpiloted aerial vehicle (UAV) technology. See more here:

A healthy dose of competition is good for any business, and as James Davis of  The Droneologist remarked, “hope the current “drone vs. drone” will not lead to any real drone war, nor further taint the image of drones,  but stays within the realm of offering the best drone photography services.


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