Chips in focus of China's drone sector's development: expert

By Bai Yunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/28 21:03:41

A competitor operates a drone at an industry contest in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, in September. Photo: VCG

China, which is the world's second-largest country in the development and application of drones, must tackle the issue of domestically developed chips to meet exponential demand in the market, an industry expert said on Sunday.

The comment was made amid rising trade tensions between China and the US and the latter's stated intention to maintain its technological lead.

China's industrial-grade drone market is huge and Chinese drone makers do need to import some components to produce industrial-grade drones, which have high precision requirements, according to Zhang Baoxin, an expert at China Aviation News.

"Many Chinese companies are looking for substitutes for US-made drone parts, and domestic manufacturing has achieved breakthroughs so that US-made parts are replaced in some models of general-purpose drones," Zhang said.

According to industry estimates, China's drone market will reach 13.4 billion yuan ($1.93 billion) in scale by 2018.

Zhou Huanbo, chairman of Beijing Fudi surveying Co, said at an industry symposium that China is the No.2 country after the US in the research, development and use of drones.

"Drones are used for security, surveying, and crop protection and environmental protection," Zhou told the Global Times on Saturday.

But gaps remain in theoretical areas such as flight control and chips, Zhou said. "A great many chips were imported from the US." 

The huge market has attracted massive investment and drawn a good number of companies into the industry. Some companies are making mature chips and batteries at a reduced cost, Zhang said.

However, as drones transmit more and more data, the sector will need superior chips performing at about 100 times the capacity of today's models, and that will be China's next focus in the field, Zhang said.

Newspaper headline: Chips in focus of domestic drone sector

Posted in: COMPANIES

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