An amphibious drone made in Shanghai
A Chinese company has developed an amphibious drone, with plans to use it to deliver goods, transport supplies to islands and detect submarines, according to the manufacturer.
Liu Jiandong, founder and chairman of UVS Intelligence System, a privately owned drone-maker in Shanghai, said to local state media China Daily that mass production of its U650 seaplane has begun and will enter commercial operation this year with a Chinese express delivery company and a client in Southeast Asia.
"We are working with the domestic client to apply for approval from air traffic management authorities of our project to open a freight route next year using the amphibious drone", he said.
According to China Daily, the U650 was developed based on Spain's Colyaer Freedom S100 amphibious ultralight aircraft, whose intellectual property rights were wholly acquired by the Shanghai company, as UVS states.
The 5.85-meter-long unmanned seaplane, entirely made of carbon fiber, is able to stay aloft 15 hours with a cruising speed of 180 km per hour and a flight range of 2,000 km. It can carry up to 250 kilograms of cargo and its wings can also carry four payloads. The drone is capable of takeoffs and landings from short unpaved airstrips, grassland or water.
Like the global players Amazon and DHL Express, almost all of China's large couriers, such as China Post and SF Express, have begun to invest in research and development on delivery drones, according to China Daily, which indicates that analysts have said drones will play an increasingly significant role in the country's skyrocketing online shopping industry.