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Shenzhen International UAV Expo 2018: Takeaways and Conclusions

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It was a great pleasure for the SkyHopper by Mobilicom team to play an active part in the Shenzhen International UAV Expo 2018 and the World Drone Congress in June 2018.

Compliments go to the organizers for a well-organized event and the kindest hospitality.

The main takeaway from this event must be the fact that China’s Drone market is rocking in the fastest pace ever!

Insights from the Shenzhen International UAV Expo 2018

Following three very interesting days on the exhibition floor presenting SkyHopper solutions, fruitfully discussing opportunities with partners, customers and prospects and a wonderful speaking opportunity at the UAS Standards Innovative Application Forum, it led me to the following insights:

China, a Global leader in consumer-drones also positions itself as a leader in the commercial and industrial drone markets. It was very clear in Shenzhen, as drone companies presented unique innovative products that serve different use cases and applications.

Local focus with a strong Global ‘glimpse’ - China is a very large market for drone operations and it was clearly reflected on the exhibition floor. Most of the companies serve the local market first then the global customers (excluding DJI). The global ‘glimpse’ was clearer at the Congress, where global experts and opinion leaders presented their ideas, standards and insights.

In terms of standardization and regulations, China is taking on a very active role in learning global trends and collaborating with global organizations. Playing an integral role in shaping the industry standards will further position China as a leader.  

We got the impression that there are fewer tethered solutions compared to other exhibitions in China and in other markets. While tethered solutions will always have a certain market niche for specific applications, we know that they might also be over presented due to regulations that present limitations to flying. This could be a positive sign that regulations are loosening and that drones are literally becoming unleashed, ready to fly. It may further indicate the strong joint incentives of the regulators and drone operators to push the industry to higher levels.

In terms of leading applications that drone manufacturers are focusing on, first responder and security applications take the lead, with larger drones and the integration of innovatve capabilities such as water dropping. The second primary application is agriculture, which is a large market that requires practical and unique solutions and the drone industry in China is promoting it significantly.

Finally, there is an apparent increased investment in AI, Autonomous drones, Fleet and Swarm management solutions and the overall understanding that eventually, these technologies will enable the mass adoption of drones in our daily life.

It was truly a great time in Shenzhen and we are eagerly looking forward for the bright future of the Chinese industrial and commercial drone industry.