Shenzhen is building itself into a capital of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — one new type of drone at a time.
At the recently-closed 2023 7th World Drone Conference, held in Shenzhen from June 2 to June 4, a flying saucer-shaped drone made its maiden flight with a passenger onboard.
It was reportedly the world’s first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flying saucer.
The aircraft, developed by iUFO (幽浮飞碟), a Shenzhen-based UAV startup, has a six-ducted-fan-and-12-propeller structure.
It has a flight time of 15 minutes and a lift of 200 m. With a maximum speed of 50 kph horizontally, the device is able to switch between automatic and manual modes of flying.
With a triple safety redundancy, covering power source, power motor and flight control, the flying saucer can take off from and land on water, making it an amphibious vehicle.
Now only able to carry one passenger, the UAV has caused quite a stir among tech and especially UAV enthusiasts in Shenzhen and beyond.
One reason is that it bears striking resemblance to the flying saucer from sci-fi movies. With a see-through cockpit, the pilot-cum-passenger can get a good field of view, local Shenzhen media reported.
According to iUFO, the drone is now applied primarily in sightseeing and commercial performance, and has secured global patents.
The flying saucer is among a myriad of new innovations rolled out by Shenzhen-based tech startups, who are ramping up efforts to help build the southern Chinese “Silicon Valley” into a “drone capital,” according to a city blueprint on creating new growth engines for its economy.