Russia plans to scale up industrial drone production following China’s exit from the commercial market and increasing demand from the Russian military in Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday.
The open-source drone manufacturer Copter Express (COEX) sold its industrial division to the drone nest maker Hive for an undisclosed sum, the publication reported.
Industrial drones are designed to monitor the environment inside and outside manufacturing plants.
Their prices are up to three times higher than their commercial counterparts which, according to Kommersant, make them less likely to appear on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Hive said it plans to invest more than 100 million rubles ($1.8 million) and make 100 drones each month by year-end.
“Our task is to transform production from a small scale to mass production,” Hive CEO Nikolai Ryashin told Kommersant.
COEX CEO Oleg Ponfilenok said industrial drones made up 15% of the company’s profits.
Kommersant reported last week that the drone shortage fueled by the war and the withdrawal of China’s DJI drone maker has triggered a 30% price increase in Russia.
IT experts told the outlet that Russia currently lacks truly large-scale drone production projects. They added that the sector faces regulatory stumbling blocks that make the industrial use of drones illegal with the exception of indoor solutions.
The latest such roadblock appeared in March, when Russian aviation authorities required drone operators to be certified as aircraft pilots.
“It’s impossible to do this in Russia right now, there’s no legal basis,” said Andrei Patrakov, CEO of the drone licensing service RunAvia.