An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard and is under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers. By techniques, UAVs can be classified into unmanned helicopter, fixed-wing UAV, multi-rotor UAV, unmanned airship, parasol-wing UAV, etc. The mainstream on the market is multi-rotor UAV, which is generally used for consumption.
UAVs can carry unmanned smart flight platforms with different loads and will be more widely used as platforms and loads upgrade. Apart from traditional application areas such as military, agriculture and border defense, the development of UAV has reached to aerial photography, media interview, express delivery and Internet signal transmission.
In January 2013, DJI, a Chinese UAV manufacturer, launched its first commercial UAV, the Phantom, which is mainly used to take GoPro into the sky. Since then, commercial UAVs have experienced explosive growth. Optimistic about professional applications of UAV, top Internet companies also attempt to step into this field.
In November 2016, JD, a Chinese B2C e-commerce company, was granted the qualification to deliver goods by UAV. This marks an important breakthrough in policy. On November 12, 2016, JD completed its first UAV delivery in Shanxi Province. Earlier 2016, Tencent and ZEROTECH co-launched YING at CNY 1,999. This drone is targeted at the commercial market and bears Tencent’s social community. UAVs used in agriculture, forestry and plant protection are also a significant trend in the industry.
According to CRI, with the support from the Chinese government, the size of pro market will surpass that of commercial UAV mainly used for aerial photography. However, future applications of UAV will surely be more diverse. Commercial UAV market and professional UAV market alike awaits to be explored. Many manufacturers have begun their march to agriculture, security, surveying and mapping, electricity and logistics.
According to CRI, from 2017 to 2021, both global and Chinese military, civil and commercial UAV markets will keep growing fast. It is estimated that by 2021, domestic sales of civil UAV in China will have exceeded 6 million and the market size will be over USD 3 billion.