Hainan issues nation’s first map for UAV activity, boosts ‘low-altitude economy’

The release of the map represents the latest in a series of strides by the province in opening up its airspace for new market opportunities, local media reported.

China’s southernmost tropical resort Hainan has released what the province said is the country’s first aerial map meant for UAV activity on the island.

The map, which demarcates areas that are suitable for flight of drones on the island, roughly overlaps with the geographical map of the island.

Hainan is the country’s second-largest island and a popular tourist destination.

The release of the map represents the latest in a series of strides by the province in opening up its airspace for new market opportunities, local media reported.

Nonetheless, the map so far is not binding, as it doesn’t pose any legal obligation on those to whom it applies.

At a seminar on low-altitude economy held in Wenchang, a city at the northeastern tip of Hainan, on November 27, a number of researchers and corporate practitioners spoke about ways to promote the development of a low-altitude economy, with deregulation of UAV activities at the center of their discussion.

Image credit: Pexels

Among a string of measures proposed by the speakers, spurring technological innovation in UAV, devising a scientific growth plan and setting up a pilot area for application were the favorite.

Across China, various localities have come up with blueprints that map out paths to a more vibrant low-altitude economy.

UAV, eVTOL and other forms of aircraft have moved to the front of public consciousness as they pioneer a new form of mobility, complementing the prevalent means of public transportation.

Companies like Meituan (美团) and SF Express (顺丰快递) have taken the lead to commercialize drone technologies, with applications in food and cargo delivery.

Hainan is one of the first localities within China to push through reforms in airspace management.

In 2018, the province became a pilot in helping to construct the national UAV comprehensive supervision platform.

Public data shows that in the 10 years since September 2013, the island has built a mature general aviation industry from scratch, logging 3.2 million flights by general aviation operators, averaging 862 a day.

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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, Trip.com 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 nitao0927@gmail.com.

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