Innovation makes drones more efficient in China

To celebrate Labor Day, a majestic drone light show was held over the Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City in Sanya, in the southern island province of Hainan, bringing viewers an entirely new sensory experience. During the show, 500 drones dazzled the audience with various forms, such as farmers working in the fields and divers growing coral reefs on the sea floor.

The drones that took part in the show were piloted by a team from EFY Intelligent Control (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd. Based in Tianjin. “These drones, which include aerial photography, mapping and plant protection drones, were all independently developed by our team,” said company founder Qi Juntong. Hundreds of drones of various sizes, ranging from more than a meter to palm-sized, are on display at the company’s factory.

The UAV is independently developed by EFY Intelligent Control (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd. It was shown at the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) in 2020. These aircraft are mainly used in drone swarm shows. (Image/Digital Network)

Qi Juntong explained, “Instead of developing a single drone, my team pays more attention to smart drone swarm autonomous control technologies, especially the consistency of in-flight control to avoid drones colliding with different paths.”

To ensure that the drones fly in a coordinated manner without interfering with each other, Qi Juntong and his team built a comprehensive and intelligent flight test system after overcoming a lot of technological difficulties. The system succeeded in reducing the error in controlling the swarm of drones to a few centimeters.

On February 21, 2022, a drone light show to salute the Olympic spirit was proposed in Wanying City, Hainan Province (southern China) by EFY Intelligent Control (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd. (Photo/EFY Intelligent Control (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd.)

“We strive to make breakthroughs in intelligent drone swarm autonomous control technologies, which are widely used in areas such as patrols, security, logistics and transportation,” said Qi Juntong.

Last summer, the EFY team was the champion in a singles event to compete with high-level UAV swarm systems. According to the team leader, for a drone squadron to win the competition, it must be able to fly and independently identify, locate and track multiple moving vehicles at close range based on the vehicle’s changing number.

On December 18, 2020, a drone light show was held at Tianjin University by EFY Intelligent Control (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd. Set a Guinness World Record for the Longest Animation Made by Drones. During the show, 600 drones formed different images to depict the life of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. (Photo/EFY Intelligent Control (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd.)

As the team added a Dedicated Drone Network (FANET), the drones can communicate with each other. Using cameras, AI algorithms, and smart decision-making algorithms, the team enabled its squadron of drones to conduct regular vehicle tracking throughout the process.

“The results of scientific research should be tested in the market. If it is not well accepted by the market, it will be difficult to commercialize the results of the innovation,” Qi Juntong said. He founded EFY in 2015 to use technologies in commercial fields such as drone swarm display because it is one of the most direct ways for the general public to understand the application of drone swarm control techniques.

The drone swarm landscape is also the first step towards the complex applications of drone swarm control technologies. Last year, EFY 277 held a drone show, with 168,730 successful take-offs and landings.

The company has filed 257 patent applications related to drones. “Our company manufactured about 10,000 drones of various types in 2021, which increased our total operating income four times compared to the previous year,” said Ju Jing, deputy general manager of the company.

“We are fortunate to live in the best of times,” said Qi Juntong, explaining that governments at all levels have prioritized innovative development, allowing the company to focus on technological breakthroughs to conquer the market and rapid growth.

When EFY was first set up, it had to share an office with another company. Today, EFY has moved to its new headquarters with an area of ​​more than 10,000 square meters and has become a national level high-tech enterprise. Qi Juntong added: I did not expect our company to develop so quickly.

EFY is located in Tianjin Binhai-Zhongguancun Science Park, which mainly housed industries, especially chemical industry. Today, the science park is home to more than 40 companies in the drone and other intelligent equipment industries. The park has been turned into an industrial park for unmanned intelligent equipment.

“Science Park got into version 3.0 of its development, going from just providing office space to providing services and then developing an innovation ecosystem,” said a Science Park executive.

(By Jin Bo, People’s Daily reporter)

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