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“Low-altitude” new track, straight to “90,000 miles”


A few days ago, the electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) ET9 prototype independently developed by Yiwei (Nanjing) Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. successfully completed its first flight, and the company’s R&D personnel are recently repeatedly testing and optimizing the core components such as motors, propellers and servos of the “flying car”. Taking a “sky taxi” to work in the morning rush hour is moving from fantasy to reality. As a strategic emerging industry, the low-altitude economy is entering the public eye, and it is constantly giving birth to new industries, new models and new kinetic energy with disruptive technologies and cutting-edge technologies.Race for new tracks, build new engines. In recent years, Nanjing attaches great importance to the guidance and layout of low-altitude economy, gathers a large number of professionals, cultivates a number of high-tech enterprises, and initially forms an agglomeration situation in Pukou, Airport Economic Demonstration Zone and other areas, and is in a critical period of rapid rise. The cockpit, several rotating blades, four axles and eight propellers are symmetrical…… Walking into the exhibition hall of Yiweite in Yuhuatai District, I saw that the light green ET9 prototype model was simple and compact, and the beautiful and atmospheric appearance concealed superior aerodynamic performance.

EVIT (Nanjing) Aviation Technology Co., Ltd.

The ET9 prototype is a “flying car” with a maximum take-off weight of 2.2 tons, can carry 5 people or 500 kilograms, has a maximum range of 240 kilometers, and a maximum speed of 240 kilometers per hour. “Unlike ordinary helicopters, it is electrically driven, belongs to clean energy, and is quieter than helicopters, has high safety, is cheap, and has low operating costs.” Zhang Benling, co-founder and vice president of Yiweiter, introduced.

Zhang Benling said that the successful first flight of the ET9 prototype not only shows that the model has made breakthrough progress in research and development, but also marks an important step for the company from R&D products to commercial products.

Looking at the north bank of the Yangtze River, the low-altitude economy is also hot. Founded in Pukou District in 2014, Nanjing Myec Information Technology Co., Ltd. focuses on technologies such as UAV intelligent flight control, low-altitude image acquisition and AI intelligent analysis, and is committed to creating a more intelligent UAV application system.

“For example, the Zhihui Cloud – UAV management application platform developed by us for industry users is based on ‘AI+AR dual engine’, and integrates 4G/5G, cloud technology, artificial intelligence and other technologies to achieve real-time monitoring and control of UAVs.” Chen Yao, general manager of Mygyco, introduced that the platform can manage the route, flight altitude, flight speed and other parameters of the UAV, and carry out task planning and release, collect data and analyze and process, and realize the automatic management and operation of UAV tasks.

Enterprises have “entered”, and the low-altitude economy has taken off in the wind. To build a new engine, policy support is also needed: the Central Economic Work Conference listed the low-altitude economy as one of the strategic emerging industries, the low-altitude economy was written into the government work report for the first time, and the Civil Aviation Administration issued the “National Airspace Basic Classification Method”, issuing the first production license for the global eVTOL industry……

In recent months, the country has successively “made moves”, policy dividends have continued to be released, and various localities have actively laid out and taken actions, launched route planning, formed talent teams and other ways to boost industrial development, and seized the development opportunities in the emerging field of low-altitude economy.

Nanjing has a good foundation and conditions for the development of low-altitude economy, and has obvious advantages in R&D, manufacturing, supporting, service, talents, etc., and has gathered more than 100 related enterprises. In 2023, the revenue of the city’s low-altitude economy-related industries will be nearly 3 billion yuan.

“Nanjing’s low-altitude economy has a good industrial foundation, and at present, the city’s low-altitude economy has a layout in key industries such as low-altitude manufacturing, low-altitude support, low-altitude flight and comprehensive services, forming a good industrial ecology.” The relevant person in charge of Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Industry and Information Technology introduced.

In the low-altitude manufacturing industry, there have been high-quality enterprises in the field of complete machine manufacturing, such as Rongtong Military and Civilian UAV Company, AVIC Jincheng Unmanned System Co., Ltd., and Nanjing Yiweite eVTOL R&D Company.

In the low-altitude flight industry, there are high-quality enterprises such as Dayi Airlines, Ruoer Airlines, New Route and Maijieke that are deeply engaged in the fields of emergency rescue, air tour and pilot training.

In the low-altitude support and comprehensive service industry, there are high-quality enterprises specializing in flight command and dispatch, surveying, mapping and navigation services, such as Nanjing Rice Information Technology Co., Ltd., Nanjing Intelligent Aviation Research Institute and Nanjing Tiancheng Transportation Research Institute.

The industrial layout has been effective, and high-quality enterprises have “flew”. Among them, Ruoer Aviation specializes in the construction, investment, management and commercial operation of China’s regional general aviation airports, and has become one of the largest private general aviation industry groups in China specializing in the investment and operation of multiple general aviation comprehensive service flight support base airports and the development of land general aviation flight business.

“Dozens of sorties are flown every day, and the maximum load of drone delivery can reach 40 kilograms, and the flight distance can reach 15-30 kilometers.” Fang Baoli, chairman of Jiangsu Changjianghui Technology Co., Ltd., told reporters.

Changjianghui Technology has carried out normalized drone scene applications such as garbage recycling from past ships and distribution of offshore goods in the Xinglongzhou shipping service area of the Yangtze River. As of the end of last year, the company’s water drone logistics and distribution platform has served nearly 500,000 crew members, more than 3,200 shipping companies, and more than 40,000 ships have been traded.

As the alarm sounded, the Nanjing Pukou District Fire and Rescue Brigade carried out regular fire drills. I saw the drone flying out of the nest of the shuttle vehicle, and the video screen was transmitted to the monitoring screen in real time, and the infrared thermal imaging system quickly located the “trapped people” to help the firefighters smoothly implement the rescue.

As an important engine of new quality productivity, the “low-altitude economy” contains infinite possibilities, constantly giving birth to new formats and new models, empowering thousands of industries, and building a new growth picture of the industrial chain of “low-altitude + service”.

Nanjing maritime department uses fixed-wing and multi-rotor UAVs to carry out normalized cruise work on 98 kilometers of the Yangtze River, with about 15,000 flights and more than 4,000 flight hours per year, and more than 1,000 illegal acts on the water have been found in more than a year of operation.

The construction of the unmanned fire protection system in Nanjing developed by Daywing Aviation is equipped with more than 60 new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with an annual dispatch volume of about 1,500 sorties, which are widely used in disaster reconnaissance, signal image transmission, three-dimensional modeling, personnel search and rescue and other fields.

Ruoer Aviation uses the high-quality platform of Laoshan general helicopter take-off and landing field, with 5 standing helicopters, and opens 4-5 air routes such as sightseeing and emergency rescue in Laoshan and Pukou local areas.

Scenarios and applications are diverse, and the rise of manufacturing enterprises is accelerating. In the production workshop of TopXGun (Nanjing) Robot Co., Ltd., the reporter saw drones lining up on the track of the production line, and the staff were assembling parts one by one.

“At present, there are 3 production lines of plant protection drones, inspection drones, and logistics drones, which are basically in full production, and can assemble and produce 50 drones a day, with a monthly output of more than 1,500 drones.” The staff told reporters.

Zhang Yu, general manager of the company, introduced that the company actively lays out the industry application UAV market, and has launched a variety of agricultural plant protection drones such as Fengpeng 600 and Fengpeng 500, and continues to expand application scenarios, covering agriculture, surveying and mapping, power inspection, security and other industry applications, and its products are sold to more than 30 countries and regions.

In an open space in Qinhuai Silicon Alley, two staff members of AVIC Jincheng Unmanned Systems Co., Ltd. are operating a test drone to test the performance of the unmanufactured machine.

As an early enterprise in the layout of low-altitude economy, the company developed a UAV intelligent autonomous operation system, to create transportation, emergency, urban governance and other application scenarios, and to carry out a variety of business model innovation exploration, “flight trajectory” expanded to Guangzhou, Hefei and other cities, unmanned systems have been applied to emergency management, urban management law enforcement, environmental testing, public security police and other scenarios.

The low-altitude economy is “to benefit from space”. According to estimates, the scale of China’s low-altitude economy will exceed 500 billion yuan in 2023, and it is expected to reach 2 trillion yuan in 2030, with a broad market. At the same time, it should also be noted that the development of the low-altitude economy is still in its infancy, and there is still a long way to go to help the low-altitude economy “soar”.

To seize the “tuyere” and accelerate the competition for the “low-altitude city”, innovation is the key move.

“Nanjing is rich in scientific and educational resources in the field of low-altitude economy, strong R&D foundation, many universities in Nanjing are related to low-altitude economy, a number of national and national defense key laboratories are deployed in Nanjing, and the R&D capabilities in many fields are leading in the country, which can empower industrial innovation with scientific and technological innovation more vigorously.” The relevant person in charge of Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Industry and Information Technology introduced.

It has 14 and 28 institutes of higher learning and research institutes engaged in aerospace technology research, such as China Southern Airlines, Southern Institute of Technology, Dongda University, China Electronics Science and Technology Institute and Rongtong 60th University;

It has the State Key Laboratory of “Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures”, the State Key Laboratory of “Helicopter Transmission Technology”, the Key Laboratory of National Defense Science and Technology of “Helicopter Rotor Dynamics”, the Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology of Small and Medium-sized UAVs of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Key Laboratory of Air Traffic Control Flight Flow Management Technology, and the Key Laboratory of Aircraft Structural Mechanics and Control of the Ministry of Education.

There are a number of scientific and technological innovation platforms such as China Southern Airlines UAV Research Institute, China Southern Aviation Civil Aviation College, Nanjing Smart Aviation Research Institute, and China Southern Airlines International Innovation Port Urban Air Mobility Research Institute;

In the fields of UAV product research and development, manufacturing, application and UAV operation management (air traffic control, safety assessment, airworthiness), it has a first-class talent team and R&D conditions, and is the source of the city and even the province to accelerate the innovation and development of low-altitude industries.

As the first Chinese civil aviation drone flight license examination center in Jiangsu Province, Megatek UAV Training Center provides flight skills training and organizes license examinations. “At the beginning of the establishment of the company, a drone training team was established, and tens of thousands of licensed drone pilots have been delivered to the society, ensuring the demand for talents for the development of the low-altitude industry.” Chen Yao introduced.

Give full play to the advantages of endowment and empower industrial innovation. The low-altitude UAV intelligent fusion monitoring system developed by Meijieke can dynamically and real-time monitor and obtain the flight data of low-altitude UAVs, so as to achieve comprehensive monitoring of low-altitude UAVs, and can also be integrated with low-altitude airspace management, operation approval and other systems to form a more complete UAV monitoring system to ensure the safety and orderliness of low-altitude flight.

The “Kite Line UAV Cloud Management System” independently developed by Nanjing Dayi Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. has realized the information integration of sensor data such as UAVs and handheld terminals, and the system background can process and analyze the collected data and AI video recognition, which has been applied in fire rescue, ecological environment, urban operation, electric power, oil and gas, new energy, water conservancy and other fields.

Seize the opportunity and take advantage of the momentum. Zhang Hui, deputy general manager of AVIC Jincheng, said that in the future, the company will develop low-altitude economy in five directions: low-altitude airspace management infrastructure, low-altitude intelligent networking infrastructure, low-altitude hub-type UAV airport infrastructure, urban digital low-altitude application platform infrastructure, and digital low-altitude data, detection and control center infrastructure.

Stimulate potential and start from the “new”. Nanjing is speeding up the expansion of industrial scale, enhancing innovation and competitiveness, and making the low-altitude economy a new engine for cultivating and developing new quality productive forces.

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