Chinese drone manufacturers, DJI, are moving into global markets. The company has showcased new Light Detection and Radar technology (LiDAR), an innovation that may hold the key to the company’s venture into autonomous driving technologies.
Earlier this year, Livox, a subsidiary of DJI, showcased LiDAR at the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. The product uses infrared light to identify shapes and objects.
DJI sees LiDAR as a starting point into autonomous driving. LiDAR technology may be pivotal in developing navigational systems in the future.
DJI has primarily produced drones for the consumer market but is looking to broaden its portfolio by introducing products that specialise in more commercial tasks.
One field the group wants to enter is agricultural protection and surveillance. A major inhibitor to a smooth entry into the market is rival XAG, an established manufacturer of commercial drones. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, while Xag has better after-sale services and support, DJI has superior technological capabilities. DJI can produce drones with technology that enables it to navigate orchards reliably and also aid with pest and disease management.
The Nikkei Asian Review says the Chinese company is at the forefront of drone innovation, but to be competitive in a commercial market, it will have to meet the needs of a more demanding, diverse clientele.
Last year the company launched the Osmo Action camera, at half the retail price of some popular US equivalents, like GoPro. In the same year, the company released a range of non-commercial mini-drones, that are competitively priced at around $426.
DJI’s initial marketing focus will be primarily in China and Europe in the next two years. The company aims to open up outlets in China, with stores emphasising interactivity and technology showcasing.
Industry experts believe the drone company will stick with its policy of competitive pricing for consumers.
US based market research company, IDC, has forecast a large growth in drone markets for the year. North American and European markets are expected to grow between 10 and 20 percent this year. China’s total drone market is expected to grow between 40 and 50 percent, with consumer drone markets to grow at a similar rate.