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UAV Industry Status And Future Development Trend
Dec 24, 2018

The UAV is a non-manned aircraft operated by radio remote control equipment and its own program control device. It involves sensor technology, communication technology, information processing technology, intelligent control technology and aerodynamic propulsion technology. It is a product of high technology content in the information age. The value of drones lies in the formation of an aerial platform that, combined with other components, expands the application and replaces humans to complete aerial operations. With the gradual maturity of UAV research and development technology, manufacturing costs have been greatly reduced. UAVs have been widely used in various fields. In addition to military applications, they include agricultural plant protection, electric power inspection, police enforcement, geological exploration, environmental monitoring, Forest fire prevention, film and television aerial photography and other civilian fields, and its application areas are rapidly expanding.

UAVs can be classified according to different scenarios, platforms, and application methods, such as: application scenarios, flight platforms, control methods, line of sight, weight scale, mission height, activity radius, etc.

In the 21st century, with the wide application of light composite materials, the maturity of satellite positioning systems, the improvement of electronic and radio control technologies, especially the emergence of multi-rotor UAV structures, the entire UAV industry has entered a stage of rapid development.

1. Multi-rotor UAV system

A. The frame body of the rack fuselage UAV refers to the carrying platform of the drone, which is generally made of high-strength lightweight materials, such as: glass fiber, glass fiber, ABS, PP, nylon, modified plastic, modified PC, resin, aluminum alloy, etc. All the equipment of the drone is installed on the frame body, and the number of brackets determines that the drone is a few rotor drones. The excellent UAV frame design makes the other components easy to install, stable and stable, and easy to disassemble.

B. Power System the UAV power system is a component that provides flight power for drones. It is generally divided into oil and electric. The electric multi-rotor UAV is the most mainstream model, and the power system consists of three parts: motor, ESC and battery. The batteries used by drones are generally high-energy density lithium-polymerized batteries. For some objective reasons, the traditional 300g lithium battery can provide 17-minute flight time for the drone's 500g (including battery) weight. Hydrogen fuel cells, solar cells, etc. are subject to the current state of the art and cost, and are not yet widely available. The drone is mainly operated in the open air. It has high requirements on the stability of the motor and the ESC system. It needs to be inspected, maintained, waterproofed and protected from moisture.

C. The flight control system of the flight control system is the flight control system of the drone. Whether the UAV automatically maintains the flight state (such as hovering) or the human operation of the drone, it needs to pass the flight control system to the UAV power system. Make real-time adjustments. In addition to ensuring the normal flight navigation function of the aircraft, some high-order flight control systems also have functions such as safety redundancy, flight data recording, flight parameter adjustment and automatic flight optimization. The flight control system is the control core of the whole drone, which mainly consists of flight control, accelerometer, barometer, sensor, gyroscope, geomagnetic instrument, positioning chip, main control chip and other components.

D. Remote control system the drone remote control system is mainly composed of a remote controller, a receiver, a decoder, and a servo system. The remote controller is an operation platform, and the receiver receives the signal from the remote controller for decoding, and separates the motion signal to the servo system, and the servo system performs corresponding actions according to the signal.

E. Auxiliary equipment system Auxiliary equipment system, mainly including UAV plug-in platform referred to as PTZ, external light camera, and wireless image transmission system. The pan/tilt is a mechanical component mounted on the drone for mounting the camera. It can meet three degrees of freedom of movement: rotating around the X, Y, and Z axes. Each axis is equipped with a motor. When the drone is tilted, it will cooperate with the gyroscope to strengthen the power in the opposite direction to the corresponding PTZ motor, prevent the camera from “tilt” with the drone, thus avoiding camera shake. The PTZ plays a very important role in stabilizing aerial photography. The external light camera is mainly a compact, high-definition camera. The wireless image transmission system, when the aerial photography of the drone, takes the picture taken by the drone in the sky in flight, and transmits it to the ground wireless image transmission remote control receiving device in real time. The excellent wireless image transmission system has a long transmission distance. The transmission is stable, the image is clear and fluent, anti-interference, anti-blocking, low delay and so on.

2. Fixed-wing UAV system

The fixed-wing UAV system consists of five parts: the body structure, the avionics system, the power system, the take-off and landing system, and the ground control station system. The structure of the body is composed of a detachable modular body, which is convenient to carry and can be assembled and taken off in a short time. The avionics system consists of flight control computer, sensor, payload, wireless communication, etc., to complete the needs of the aircraft control system. The power system consists of a power battery, a propeller, and a brushless motor to provide the drone with the power needed to fly. The take-off and landing system consists of a projectile rope, a catapult, and a parachute to help the drone complete the catapult takeoff and parachute landing. Some advanced fixed-wing drones use gliding and take-off and require additional design for landing gear retraction, shock absorption, precision positioning, acceleration and braking. The ground control station includes ground station computer, controller, radio and other communication equipment to assist in the completion of route planning tasks and flight process monitoring.

3. UAV application field

UAV applications are mainly divided into three categories, consumer applications, industrial applications, and military applications.

The consumer-grade UAV application market represented by multi-rotor UAVs has entered a rapid growth period. According to public data, the consumer-grade UAV application market has an annual growth rate of more than 50%, and consumer-grade UAV products. The types and services are increasingly rich, and the industry has emerged as a leading company in Xinjiang, accounting for more than 70% of the consumer-grade UAV market share. The technical threshold of consumer drones is not high. An open source program can support the takeoff and landing of aircraft. Anyone can use open source programs to build a drone platform. Entry-level consumer drone products have become the Red Sea, and major manufacturers are killing for very thin profits. The advantages of major UAV manufacturers are the flight control system and the PTZ system. Through technology accumulation, their products are more stable than competitors and have a lower failure rate. At the relevant air show in the United States and Germany, there have been many drone technology systems that are not inferior to Dji. Some domestic giants with the ability to achieve the ultimate cost have also entered the consumer-grade drone industry. With the wide application of new lightweight materials, the mature core technology of flight control has further lowered the threshold of the consumer-grade UAV industry and intensified competition in the industry. The intensification of industry competition has led to the differentiation of drone products. Major manufacturers have begun to take a differentiated route and launch different products for different user needs. For example, for the inspection market, unmanned aerial vehicles with low price, simple maintenance and relatively long range are introduced; for the security market, drone products with long battery life and good working conditions and good image transmission effects are available. It is estimated that the consumer-grade UAV market in 2018 will be about 18 billion RMB, and by 2025 it will reach about 30 billion RMB.

Industrial drone application

Industrial-grade drones and consumer-class drones are two completely different concepts, and the products are also very different. Planning the technical problems of electromagnetic dissipation and confidential communication, there are two key barriers for industrial-grade UAVs on the road of large-scale application: first, insufficient voyage and air time; second, insufficient load capacity. Before breaking through these two technical difficulties, industrial-grade drones are difficult to apply on a large scale in the industry. In addition, the cost issue is also a practical problem that has to be considered. The industrial-grade UAV of tens of thousands of RMB needs to fully consider the input-output ratio.

With today's battery technology and drone structure, there is no revolutionary breakthrough in terms of payload and battery life. Battery technology has been almost in place for more than 10 years, from graphite anodes, silicon anodes, metal anodes, graphemes, material scientists in the battery innovation is all-or-nothing, the paper is issued every day, investment stacking, but the breakthrough of battery products did not appear.

The current industrial-grade UAV has an effective battery life of about 20 minutes. It is calculated according to the maximum horizontal flight speed of 5 m/s. The industrial drone has a maximum distance of 6 km in a single flight. Considering the round-trip and safety redundancy, the actual operation The radius will not exceed 3 kilometers. Taking the UAV power inspection as an example, the high-altitude inspection of the drone with a working radius of only 3 kilometers is far from meeting the actual production needs of the industrial level.

The price of industrial-grade drones is generally between 20,000 and 80,000 RMB, and even hundreds of thousands of RMB. The actual value created by the drone, after deducting equipment depreciation and other expenses, whether there is residual income, this is a realistic financial problem.

The industrial drone market is still in the process of exploration and investment, but considering the huge market potential in the future, domestic major drone manufacturers have entered this field.

It is estimated that by 2025, the industrial drone market will be about 40 billion, of which about 20 billion will be planted and forested, the security market will be about 15 billion, and the power inspection will be about 5 billion.

4.The future development trend of the drone industry

Civil consumer drones continue to grow at a high speed. The rapid growth of the civilian consumer drone market is inevitable. The development of lightweight composite materials and communication systems provides the basic conditions, and the flight control technology is mature, making the multi-rotor UAV operation more flexible and convenient. Benefiting from the maturity of the industrial chain, the cost of spare parts such as sensors and magnetic compasses has been reduced, and the price of consumer-grade drones has been greatly reduced. The combination of drones and cameras has been widely used in civil aerial photography, aerial photography and other scenes to achieve a sales-grade market.

Civil industrial-grade drones are difficult to achieve large-scale applications before technological breakthroughs. The life time of civil industrial drones needs to be improved. The current effective life time is generally less than 30 minutes. The flight stability of industrial drones needs to be improved. The drones have poor flight stability in complex environments such as wind, rain and snow. There is still a need for improvement; the load capacity of industrial-grade UAVs needs to be improved, and the load of small-scale industrial UAVs is poor, which restricts the application in pesticide spraying and logistics. In the three fields of agriculture, forestry, security, and power, it is limited by the endurance, load, and stability factors. Before the technological breakthrough, it is difficult to realize the large-scale application of civil industrial-grade UAVs. In addition, the price of industrial-grade drones is expensive, and it is also a practical problem to be considered in the field of production and application in pursuit of investment income. A tethered drone, the application scenario is broad. Before the battery technology was broken, and the drone's battery life problem was not solved, a mooring drone through an external wire was worthy of attention. The mooring drone is a drone system that combines a drone with a tethered integrated cable. The mooring drone transmits electric energy to the drone through the photoelectric integrated cable, so that the drone can stay in the air for a long time without being restricted by the electric energy. The structure and the material can be flexibly designed according to the application requirements, and the mobility is strong. It satisfies the long-term demand for long-term drones in some working environments. The mooring drone reduces the battery load and provides power to the drone through a wire. At the same time, the wire is used for wired control and image transmission of the drone with high anti-interference ability. Because it is a ground power cable input, in theory, the drone can be operated infinitely. Positioning observation, base safety, scenic area monitoring, geological survey, field operation, forest fire prevention, emergency communication, public security anti-terrorism, traffic supervision, news interview, engineering monitoring, environmental monitoring, film and television shooting, science without drone Research, defense and military industries have broad application prospects. The drone's thousands of aircraft formations will be an independent business model. Thousands of drone formations were performed in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an and other places. Thousands of drones can carry out complex formation flights, forming different patterns and themes without collision. Strong visual shock has been widely recognized in the market. The drone of the thousands of aircraft formations, numerous “fireflies” to light up the night sky, has become an independent business model, will continue to expand the impact. UAV-related industry regulatory policies will gradually tighten. During the promotion and use of drones, a series of security risks and regulatory loopholes have emerged, such as misunderstanding of the no-fly zone and community flight interference, which have certain effects on public safety and personal rights. The policy level is continuously improved and strengthens the special management in the field of drones. Due to the high level of domestic concern in the field of public safety, the drone control policy has generally become stricter.