Drones drive low-altitude economy in E China’s Shandong

(People's Daily Online) 10:15, April 22, 2024

Drones are now being used in various industries in east China's Shandong Province, which are driving the development of the low-altitude economy.

"After placing an order on the mini-program, the drone delivered the coffee to me in less than 20 minutes, which was really fast," said Zhang Deqing, a resident of Pingdu city, who recently experienced drone food delivery.

Photo shows a drone, which finished delivering an order in Pingdu city, east China's Shandong Province, in March 2024. (Photo/Yuan Jiali)

Guo Zongjie, an executive of the Qingdao Xunyi Network Technology Co., Ltd., the company which provides the service, said that under the drone delivery system, staff members send the ordered meals to the drone control station and start the drone when it is ready. It is remotely controlled and follows a set route to deliver the food to the customer's location.

In May 2023, four routes from Pingdu municipal people's hospital to township health centers were officially opened, which allows for the aerial transport of medical supplies such as pathological samples, medical devices, work documents, test reports, and other medical materials.

"Each drone can transport a 35kg solar panel up to the hillside, flying over 100 meters, and can deliver over 200 panels per day," said Li Yan, head of the Yunxing agricultural machinery professional cooperative in Dongchangfu district, Liaocheng city. The cooperative has undertaken the transport and installation work of solar panels at photovoltaic power plants in neighboring provinces.

Photo shows two drones spraying pesticides on a field in Douhutun township, Dongchangfu district, Liaocheng city, east China's Shandong Province, in March 2024. (Photo/Zhang Zhenxiang)

"Our cooperative has 42 drones, which provide services like fertilizer and pesticide spraying to at least 800,000 mu (53,333 hectares) of farmland and orchards every year. Together with revenue from the transport and installation work, the annual revenue of our cooperative exceeds 2 million yuan ($276,340)," Li added.

In a high-standard farmland in Gangcheng township, Ningyang county, Tai'an city, Xue Pengju, a sales agent of Chinese drone manufacturer DJI taught a novice how to set routes on the controller. "Compared to manual spraying, drone operations spray more evenly, have a better pest control effect, save time and effort, and are safer and more efficient."

Xue established a drone crop protection association, which provides technical guidance and equipment maintenance services to members and shares farmland operation order information. "A growing number of farmers buy agricultural drones," Xue said. With the advent of modern agricultural machinery such as drones, grain planting is becoming increasingly profitable.

Laiwu district of Jinan city hosted drone performances during the 2023 National Day and 2024 Lantern Festival, which contributed to the festive vibes and also met the cultural demands of the public.

Xue Pengju, a sales agent of Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, helps a man operate a drone in Gangcheng township, Ningyang county, Tai'an city, east China's Shandong Province, in March 2024. (File photo courtesy of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Ningyang county committee)

A large-scale aviation science and technology sports park and aviation exhibition hall near Xueye Lake of Laiwu district have become an integrated aviation tourism resort that combines sightseeing, competitions, aviation cultural exhibitions, and aviation sports experiences. During peak tourism seasons, the private piloting experience projects become much sought after, and attract many aviation enthusiasts.

Moreover, the low-altitude economy has brought immense opportunities to relevant industries. Shandong Feiao Aircraft Engine Co., Ltd. is going all out to deliver orders, which are currently scheduled until October this year, according to Chang Shuzeng, chairman of the company.

Since the company settled in the Rizhao High-Tech Industrial Development Zone in Rizhao city seven years ago, it has established a drone engine production line that covers the whole process with independent intellectual property, and offers professional engine customization services.

Photo shows a worker in a plant of Shandong Feiao Aircraft Engine Co., Ltd. in Rizhao city, east China's Shandong Province, in April 2024. (Photo/Chen Mengqiu)

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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