Russia plans to increase production of industrial drones following China’s exit from the commercial market and growing demand from the Russian military in Ukraine, according to business daily Kommersant reported Friday.
Open source drone maker Copter Express (COEX) has sold its industrial division to drone nest maker Hive for an undisclosed amount, the publication reports.
Industrial drones are designed to monitor the environment inside and outside of manufacturing plants.
Their prices are up to three times higher than their commercial counterparts, which, according to Kommersant, makes 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 manufacture 100 drones each month by the end of the year.
“Our task is to turn small-scale production into mass production,” Hive CEO Nikolai Ryashin told Kommersant.
COEX CEO Oleg Ponfilenok said industrial drones accounted for 15% of the company’s profits.
Kommersant reported last week that war-fueled drone shortages and the withdrawal of Chinese drone maker DJI triggered a 30% price increase in Russia.
IT experts told the outlet that Russia currently lacks large-scale drone production projects. They added that the sector faces regulatory pitfalls that make the industrial use of drones illegal except for indoor solutions.
The latest such roadblock came in March, when Russian aviation authorities required drone operators to be certified as airplane pilots.
“It is impossible to do this in Russia at the moment, there is no legal basis,” said Andrei Patrakov, CEO of drone licensing service RunAvia.