Chinese civilian market drones grew from 7.9 billion yuan (73 billion rubles) in 2017 to 36.1 billion yuan (333.6 billion rubles) in 2020, follows from the report of the research company AskCI Consulting; the forecast for the end of 2022 is 45.3 billion yuan (418.6 billion rubles), informs China Daily on Friday.

Civilian drones are divided into consumer and industrial. The first type is most often used for aerial photography, while the second type is diverse and is used in an increasing number of sectors of the economy.

Currently, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are involved in agriculture, geological surveys, cartography, control of power grids and oil pipelines, cargo transportation, construction, law enforcement, rescue operations, elimination of the consequences of emergency situations, etc. During the COVID-19 pandemic, drones have been spraying disinfectants, delivering critical supplies, identified violators of the anti-COVID regime.

See also: US Department of Defense begins import substitution of Chinese drones >>>

The Chinese company DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer in terms of market share, has relied on industrial-level UAVs and uses drones, among other things, for 3D digitization of national cultural heritage sites.

The company notes that the drones need only two hours to scan the petroglyphs of Mount Hua and less than a day to model an image that preserves the structure of the rock painting – this significantly increases the efficiency of research work. (The main area occupied by petroglyphs (about 1900 images) is 170 by 40 meters, the drawings are located at a height of 30-90 meters above the surface of the Min River, so it is quite difficult to manually fix and study them – ed.)

Assessment of the state and development forecast of the Chinese civil UAV manufacturing industry
Fragment of petroglyphs of Mount Hua.

Also, with the development of artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and other technologies, the role of drones in rescue operations and situations requiring the protection of the life and health of workers has increased.

In 2017, DJI decided to use drones for public safety, fire fighting and emergency response. In 2020, the company led an alliance whose members took part in more than 300 “rescue activities” in China.

Since 2015, DJI has been producing agricultural drones for sowing seeds, delivering fertilizers and pesticides to the fields. In November, a drone was launched capable of treating 21 hectares of fields with chemicals in an hour.

The Chinese government supports the promotion of agro-industrial drones (agricultural drones), thanks to which their production is growing. As of September, DJI agricultural drones were sold in more than a hundred countries and regions – the total sales amounted to about 200,000 devices.

See also: Chinese regulator develops and unveils action plan to develop drone market >>>

At the same time, the company established a training center for drone operators, where classes are held for individuals and employees of commercial enterprises.

According to the Industrial Research Institute, the industrial drone segment in China has been growing rapidly in recent years. If in 2020 the market for such UAVs amounted to 27.3 billion yuan (252.3 billion rubles), then by 2026 it will reach 265.8 billion (2.46 trillion rubles).

See also: Drone manufacturer DJI ceases operations in Russia >>>

Chinese drone manufacturers are actively looking to enter foreign markets. Thus, the largest developer of drones for agriculture in China in terms of market share, XAG, reports that its sales abroad in the first quarter of 2022 grew by 260% year-on-year; including, to Latin America – by 382%, to Southeast Asia – by 279%. It is noted that in these regions, due to urbanization, there is an outflow of labor from agriculture, which creates an increased demand for “smart” agricultural equipment for processing plantations of bananas, coffee, cocoa and sugar cane.

See also: Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab gave a forecast on the prospects for the labor market in connection with UAVs >>>

Also, XAG drones can be adapted to other work – for example, in Brazil they began to be used to extinguish forest fires, reprogrammed to spray liquid inhibitors. The company’s UAVs are sold in 50 countries and regions, including Japan, Australia, the UK and Germany, and XAG expects only an increase in demand in the near future.