Commercial use of drones requires more tests: expert

Updated 2018-03-29 11:12:04

Many experiments should be conducted before unmanned aerial vehicles (UVA) are used for commercial purposes, an expert said after China issued its first operating license for UVA on Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) East China Regional Administration issued the license to a company based in East China's Jiangxi Province, a subsidiary of one of China's largest delivery service companies, Shunfeng Express, CAAC confirmed with the Global Times on Wednesday.

The issuance of the first operating license marks the entry of China's UVAs into commercial operations, Zhang Jiajin, deputy director of the CAAC East China Regional Administration, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"This is a pilot project, and UVAs of the Jiangxi firm are only allowed to conduct flights in authorized regions in China," Zhang said.

China has authorized the use of UVAs in several special regions, such as in Tianjin and Shaanxi.

"The trend is for UVAs to be used in different industries such as delivery services, rescue operations and poverty alleviation, where UVAs can save manpower costs and work more efficiently, assuming that the technology is mature enough," Cao Limin, an expert at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"There is still a long way to go and many experiments need to be conducted to prove the safety of UVAs before they can be used commercially," Cao said.

Amazon filed a patent for a drone system that would allow for human interaction with UVAs in July 2016. The UVA will drop packages to customers within 30 minutes. However, the project has not received regulatory approval, news website newatlas.com reported.

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