China releases 1st mandatory national standards on civilian UAV safety

As supportive measures in addition to China's interim rules on UAV management, the new civilian drone standards are expected to regulate the manufacturing, examination and use of drones.

China’s market supervisor recently published a set of compulsory national safety standards on civilian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — the country’s first — that are due to take effect on June 1 next year, Chinese media published today.

The new standards are issued to govern micro-sized, lightweight and small civilian drone except model aircraft, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation.

They include mandatory technical requirements and testing methods spanning 17 aspects, such as geofence, remote identification, emergency treatment, structural rigidity, body structure, power structure and controllability.

Theese standards came as China is struggling to find ways to regulate its fast-growing UAV space, now teeming with hundreds, if not thousands, of players.

In recent years, the civilian UAV industry has gone through exponential growth worldwide, thanks to its ease of operability and flexibility.

Civilian drones have been deployed to sectors as diverse as agriculture, forestry, electricity, meteorology, maritime inspection, remote sensing, logistics and emergency rescue.

On the other hand, drones can be easily retrofitted to defy civil aviation laws and regulations and thus pose a hazard to national and public security.

In the past, there used to be a lack of consistent quality and safety standards governing the design and production of civilian drones, resulting in heightened concerns about security risks.

As supportive measures in addition to China’s interim rules on UAV management, the new civilian drone standards are expected to regulate the manufacturing, examination and use of drones.

This is conducive to the safety of drone products and the industry’s healthy development, Chinese media cited industry observers as saying.

To spur the healthy growth of the sector, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has teamed up with a national standard formulation organization since 2018 to devise a set of guidelines on UAV system standards. Updates are made regularly, with the latest edition out in 2021.

The guidelines include 13 international standards, 37 national standards and 24 industry standards.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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